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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) organises academic events in order to provide the broader public as well as an expert audience with regular insights into the most recent research results in the fields of Holocaust, genocide, and racism research. These events, some of which extend beyond academia in the stricter sense, take on different formats ranging from small lectures to the larger Simon Wiesenthal Lectures and from workshops addressing an expert audience to larger international conferences and the Simon Wiesenthal Conferences. This reflects the institute’s wide range of activities.


The range of events further extends to the presentation of selected new publications on the institute’s topics of interest, interventions in the public space, the film series VWI Visuals, and the fellows’ expert colloquia.



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Carson Phillips: Who What Wear? Emerging Gender Constructs in Post-war Vienna

Thursday, 28. April 2016, 12:00 - 13:00

Institut für Zeitgeschichte der Universität Wien, Seminarraum 1, Spitalgasse 2–4, Hof 1, 1090 Wien


VWI goes to the University of Vienna

© Austrian swimming champion, Ruth Langer, models a line of swimwear.- from the USHMM, circa 1936My point of departure is the crisis of masculinity that engulfed Germanophone Europe at the end of the Second World War. The diversity of ways in which men and women re-conceptualised themselves and re-established their place in the newly emergent society is at the core of this project. By locating, analysing, and putting forward concise models of gender constructs which emerged in Vienna in the aftermath of the Second World War, my project bridges the two historical periods while demonstrating the continued effects of the Holocaust upon societal conceptualizations of gender. I offer multiple analyses and perceptions of gender in Vienna. 

This presentation will include the findings from my research conducted thus far at VWI. I will use a variety of materials to support my thesis that gender constructs are fluid and are responsive to many types of stimuli – social, political, economic – and that this reality also remained true for post-war Vienna. A primary lens of inquiry will be archival photographs gleaned from journals, magazines, newspapers and private collections in order to elucidate the new constructs of gender. I expect my research to illuminate how and to what extent outside fashion influences, including those in the Soviet sphere of influence from 1945-1955, shaped Austrian constructs of gender. Similarly, I intend to clarify what internal factors contributed to the organic re-development of gender constructs in Austria. This presentation will outline how external and internal forces shape gender and the questions that arise from this. Constructs of gender, as seen in fashion and society, will be brought into the contemporary sphere with an explorative analysis of the correlation between the wearing of traditional clothing (Tracht) and conservative and liberal constructs of gender and politics.

Chair: Johanna Gehmacher

Carson Phillips is currently Research Fellow at the VWI. He completed his PhD in Humanities utilising archival resources, memoirs and testimony exploring post-Holocaust conceptualisations of masculinity. He is an editorial board member of PRISM – An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust Educators, and an expert on Holocaust pedagogy. From 2009–2014, he was a delegate to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – IHRA.

Johanna Gehmacher teaches Contemporary History and Gender History at the Department of Contemporary History, University of Vienna. Currently, she is head of an FWF-funded research project about the German political activist and journalist Käthe Schirmacher.

Click here to download the invitation as a PDF file.

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