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Simon Wiesenthal Lectures

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Lecture series has been held in collaboration with the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) and the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna since 2007, when the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) was still being established. As an important aspect of the task of education on recent academic insights in the fields of Holocaust research and genocide studies, the lecture series has developed into the VWI's education flagship.

 

The lectures take place every six to eight weeks, with renowned scholars presenting the most recent research insights on the Holocaust to a professional audience as well as a broader public. They showcase the impressive spectrum of this discipline, its numerous questions and issues ranging from empirical-analytical historiography to topics of cultural scholarship, and involve young scholars as well as established academics.

 

The Austrian State Archive as our co-operation partner has since June 2010 provided us with the perfect location for our lectures: the rooftop foyer of the “Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv” at Minoritenplatz in Vienna. This location at the rear façade of the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria is symbolic of the reappraisal of the Holocaust in Austria: After all, this history had been marginalised for decades, just like its immediate historical antecedent, Austrian antisemitism, was cut out of history, its appraisal shoved aside for victims and their descendants to deal with. This has only changed in recent times. The Shoah has simultaneously been moving ever closer to the centre of Austrian historical awareness. It has slowly emerged from the repressed periphery and out of the realm of taboo and silence and into the focus of understanding of Austria’s most recent history. Thus, the Simon Wiesenthal Lectures are held at a place that represents the symbolic and real centre of the Republic and is at the same time also an instance of this turn in the Austrian perception of its own history.

 

 

Simon Wiesenthal Lecture
Rebecca Jinks: Representing Genocide. The Holocaust as Paradigm?
   

Thursday, 15. February 2018, 18:30 - 20:00

Dachfoyer des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs, 1010 Wien, Minoritenplatz 1

 

This lecture will explore the ways in which representations of the Holocaust have influenced how other genocides are understood and represented in the West. It will take as examples the four canonical cases of genocide in the twentieth century – Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda – and explore how they have been represented in film, literature, photography, and memorialisation. It will argue that most ‘mainstream’ representations of genocide largely replicate the mainstream representational framework of the Holocaust – including the way in which the latter resists recognising the rationality, instrumentality, and normality of genocide, preferring instead to present genocide as an aberrant, exceptional event in human history. The lecture will conclude by discussing a contrasting series of more nuanced, engaged representations of genocide: These tend to revolve around precisely ordinariness of genocide and the structures and situations common to human society which can become the crucible for genocidal violence.

Rebecca Jinks is a historian of comparative genocide and humanitarianism. She completed her doctoral degree in 2013 at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she is a Lecturer in the Department of History. Currently, she is working on a project encompassing gender, humanitarianism, and photography in the aftermath of the Armenian genocide. This research project is part of a broader monograph on the social history of humanitarianism after the First World War.

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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:

 

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