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CHGS News June  2013 
From The Director
Alejandro Baer

The Year in Review

These first wonderful real spring weeks in Minnesota provided an excellent opportunity to reflect on my first year at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University. 


 Soon after my arrival last August I learned to appreciate and highly value the unique Minnesota signature of CHGS. The Center's mission of linking top scholarship with public service and outreach to several different sectors of society could only be achieved by working together with the many community-based partners of the Center -an extraordinary inheritance of its founder, Steven Feinstein- as well as its many friends across the University of Minnesota. During my first academic year at Minnesota, the CHGS has strengthened old ties and built new relationships with colleagues and community representatives in the Twin Cities. New collaborative efforts in programming events and outreach initiatives will result.   

At the same time, 2012-2013 has served to lay the foundation of the new intellectual agenda of the Center. Last April's international symposium on "Representing Genocide," our workshops and lecture series epitomize a set of questions that we will continue to pursue from different disciplinary angles and through diverse endeavors such as conferences and collaborative research projects. 

What challenges face Holocaust remembrance and education today? What is the impact of the Holocaust, and its memory, on unfolding events of mass violence, on the way they are represented, and on future collective memories? What is the role of organizations and institutions (such as the judicial world, human rights advocacy networks, mass media, and the academic community) that mediate the production and public articulation of representations of mass violence in different contexts?

A thorough examination of these questions is not only a relevant scholarly undertaking to advance knowledge in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, but also an essential component of global progress towards the prevention or reduction of future mass atrocities.

In the year ahead we will further develop the CHGS as a major center of academic research, distinguished both by international scope and local sensitivity. Much is already underway. A summer institute for high-school teachers, a panel discussion on present-day antisemitism, our interdisciplinary graduate research workshops, and an extraordinary line-up of top-level international speakers are only some of the items on the agenda. 


Best wishes for a peaceful and productive summer 2013,


Alejandro Baer 

CHGS Articles
Representing Genocide
Faces of Genocide (2013) J. Elowitz


Representing Genocide: Media, Law and Scholarship 
By Tracy Baumgardt

In August 1941, Winston Churchill noted that, while confronted with the atrocities that his intelligence services had discerned in Europe, the world was faced "with a crime without a name." The second World War marked efforts to define atrocities and mold cultural memory by distinct institutions, such as the media, judiciary and academia; each of which continue to offer their own unique but overlapping framing. 


While it is evident that representations of past atrocities have since influenced responses to more recent acts of bloodshed, the connection between such representations, and their ability to effectively prevent or reduce atrocities, has received little analysis. 

Representing genocide symposium  

On April 5th and 6th, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, hosted the symposium, Representing Genocide: Media, Law and Scholarship, to explore the intersections between journalistic, judicial and social scientific depictions of atrocities, with a focus on cases of the Holocaust, Darfur and Rwanda. 


The symposium was organized by the Center's Director, Alejandro Baer, and Professor of Sociology, Joachim Savelsberg, and made possible by the Wexler Special Events fund for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Center for Austrian Studies, The Center for German and European Studies and several other centers and departments across the university (for a complete list click here). 

  Representing genocide symposium 3

Seventy-five participants attended the two-day symposium, which featured renowned scholars -in the fields of law, academia, and journalism-speaking to the increasing tension between local and global representations and memories of mass murder. Day one of the symposium opened with an analysis of the term "genocide," including an exploration of the term's origins and a discussion on whether the Holocaust could be considered on its own or as a larger framework of genocide.


The afternoon session explored representations of genocide through the lens of law. Specifically, scholars employed historical examinations of the prosecutions of crimes committed during Argentina's "Dirty War" and the Darfur conflict to inform our normative assessment of those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity. 


Examples of prominent Holocaust related trials, notably the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem and the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial in Germany, were also analyzed to demonstrate the varying approaches to accountability for mass murder. 

Representing genocide symposium 2  

Day two of the symposium addressed the wavering depictions of genocide and mass atrocities in the media and the consequences that such representations have on external interventions.  


Corresponding with the anniversary of the start of the Rwanda Genocide, the failure of the international media to properly cover and define this horrific massacre was examined, as well as the physical and moral consequences of this neglect.


Scholars also examined how nation states' own collective memories of genocide, as well as associations with global institutions such as the International Criminal Court, affect the reporting and discourse on the conflict and interventions in Darfur. 


Furthermore, scholars addressed the Holocaust paradigm and how it has been contextualized in Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, as well as how the transnational memory of fascism and the Holocaust played a role in Argentina's "Dirty War" in the 1970s. 


These cases demonstrate how cross-historical memory movements can often contain politicalized narratives but also help us to understand the motivations for contemporary mass atrocities. The symposium allowed for a frank exchange that cultivated new ideas on how and when the memory of mass atrocities through distinct institutions can lead to effective anti-genocide policies. For more information about the symposium please click here.


Tracy Baumgardt has been providing program support to CHGS since February, 2013. Prior to this she was working as a Human Rights Field Officer with Peace Brigades International in Kathmandu, Nepal. There she supported at-risk human rights defenders through protective accompaniment, advocacy and capacity building. For almost three years she also served as the Program Coordinator for the Washington D.C. based NGO, Democracy Coalition Project, which conducted research and advocacy related to the advancement of human rights internationally, particularly through United Nations mechanisms. Ms. Baumgardt graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs with a Masters of Public Policy and a minor in Human Rights. 

Representing Genocide Videos on
CHGS YouTube Channel

Representing Genocide: Media, Law and Scholarship was recorded and is now available to be viewed.  Click on the video below to access the lecture by Allan Thompson. All of the other lectures are available by clicking here. 
Allan Thompson -
Allan Thompson - "Genocide and the Media: Rwanda's Genocide Video"
Menashe Kadishman, Installation Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves)
CHGS Summer Institute for Secondary Educators
The Holocaust in European Memory
July 8-11, 2013 
Room 710 Social Sciences
9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Register here.
Registration deadline: June 24, 2013
In this workshop we will examine questions such as how the Nazi murder of European Jews became "The Holocaust"? How is this story conveyed through public memorials, school curricula, art, literature and film? How has the Holocaust been contextualized and rendered meaningful within the diversity of European nations and in the distant US? And what are its implications for teaching the Holocaust in the classroom?

We will approach the topic from an interdisciplinary perspective, with internationally recognized scholars in the fields of history, sociology, literature and German/European studies from the University of Minnesota and Gustavus Adolphus College. Speakers will focus on historiography, testimony, media and visual arts and will assist educators in creating curriculum and lessons they can incorporate into their classrooms. 
For more information click here


Wahutu Siguru awarded Badzin Fellowship

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Department of History, are pleased to announce the Bernard and Fern Badzin Graduate Fellowship in Holocaust and Genocide Studies has been awarded to Wahutau Siguru.


Siguru's research interests are in the Sociology of Media, Genocide, Mass Violence and Atrocities (specifically on issues of representation of conflicts in Africa such as Darfur and Rwanda), Collective Memory, and perhaps somewhat tangentially Democracy and Development in Africa.

Siguru was born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya and attended Moi University Law School from 2003-2007 and moved to Minnesota in 2007 completing a double major in Sociology and Global Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2010.


He spent a year doing research with Professor Tade Okediji, (University of Minnesota Applied Economics) on ethnicity and ethnic group formation in Africa, which resulted in a co-authored paper presented at the 2013 Africa Conference in Austin Texas. The paper will also be presented at the African Studies Association Conference in Baltimore Maryland later this year.

Siguru began coursework towards a PhD in Sociology at the University of Minnesota in 2011 and is currently analyzing data collected in the summer of 2012 in Johannesburg and Nairobi which has resulted in a co-authored paper with Professor Joachim Savelsberg on Representations of Darfur in Western and African Media; this will be presented at the 2013 American Sociological Association Conference in New York.


The Badzin Fellowship pays a living stipend of $18,000, and the cost of tuition, mandatory fees and health insurance. An applicant must be a current student in a Ph.D. program in the College of Liberal Arts, currently enrolled in the first, second, third, or fourth year of study, and have a doctoral dissertation project in Holocaust and genocide studies.

The fellowship is awarded on the basis of the quality and scholarly potential of the dissertation project, the applicant's quality of performance in the graduate program, and the applicant's general scholarly promise.

New Video: Aomar Boum, Scripting the Shoah
On April 11, 2013, Professor Aomar Boum presented an overview of his research dealing with the Holocaust in Moroccan official and public discourses. The recording of this presentation is now available for viewing on the CHGS YouTube channel

Using archival material and ethnographic interviews, Professor Boum argued that North African and Moroccan perspectives about the Holocaust are part of what he calls the durable structures of acceptance and minimization. Using Bourdieu's habitus, Boum claims that Moroccan debates about the Holocaust have been framed and ossified in a context of social and political pre-dispositions of minimization of the Holocaust generating typological and conflicting scripts. Therefore, when individuals go against the grain and question this habitus, they are perceived as going against the principles of regular continuity that has governed the Arab/Moroccan critique of Israeli policies towards Palestinians.
The lecture was a collaboration between CHGS and the Center for Jewish Studies. 
Scripting the Shoah:  The Holocaust in Moroccan Official and Public Discourses
Scripting the Shoah: The Holocaust in Moroccan
Official and Public Discourses

Book of the Month
Book Resurgent Antisemitism
Resurgent Antisemitism
Global Perspectives
Edited by Alvin H. Rosenfeld

Dating back millennia, antisemitism has been called "the longest hatred." Thought to be vanquished after the horrors of the Holocaust, in recent decades it has once again become a disturbing presence in many parts of the world. Resurgent Antisemitism presents original research that elucidates the social, intellectual, and ideological roots of the "new" antisemitism and the place it has come to occupy in the public sphere. By exploring the sources, goals, and consequences of today's antisemitism and its relationship to the past, the book contributes to an understanding of this phenomenon that may help diminish its appeal and mitigate its more harmful effects.

For more information on this title please click here
In This Issue
Representing Genocide Symposium
Symposium Videos on CHGS YouTube Channel
Summer Institute
University of Minnesota Libraries Resource
Artistic Responses
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