Call for Papers: Universalizing the Holocaust
February 18-20, 2023
The universalization of the Holocaust from a Jewish catastrophe to an episode with implications for other crimes against humanity including persecution, colonial violence, and genocide has been the subject of important scholarship in the past two decades. Part of that scholarship has measured the degree to which the Holocaust is unique among genocides, how public figures have used the Holocaust to understand other mass atrocities, and the degree to which the Holocaust has been "sacralized" in prosecutions and museum memory cultures.
On February 18-20, 2023, the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida will host an interdisciplinary conference devoted to the history and significance of the Holocaust’s universalization. The aim is not to revisit whether universalization of the Holocaust in and of itself banalizes the Jewish catastrophe or not. Rather, it is to investigate how the Holocaust has been and is currently viewed and remembered. Of special interest is how formerly colonized people and other oppressed groups have sought meaning and significance for their experiences from the Holocaust and/or how they have applied its memory, lessons, and legacies to their past and contemporary experiences. The conference is intended to assemble a diverse group of scholars, novelists, filmmakers, and other analysts, to discuss how Holocaust history and memory have been universalized (translated into applicable phenomenon globally) in informative ways but also in ways that have misrepresented the past and present.
We are calling for paper proposals in all disciplines based on original research concerning, but not limited to, the following questions.
- How did observers of the Holocaust contemporaneously interpret the genocidal violence inflicted by Nazi Germany and its allies and relate it to their lived experiences?
- How were the lessons of the Holocaust applied to decolonization struggles in post-World War II history, and post-colonial efforts of nation-building and reckoning with the crimes of colonial empire?
- How have observers of more contemporary post-colonial violence applied the Holocaust as a lens through which to understand this violence?
- How have contemporaries in the struggle for civil rights and social justice worldwide understood the Holocaust in their discourses on oppression?
- In what ways has the Holocaust been misused and/or distorted in more polemical discourse since the end of the Second World War?
Participants and papers should aim at offering novel case studies and/or comparative global assessments of how the Holocaust has been “universalized.”
The Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida will pay for reasonable travel expenses to Gainesville as well as hotel expenses and meals in Gainesville.
The two-day conference is intended to generate original research papers on the above (or related) questions and issues that will be published in an edited book of essays.
Abstracts should be one page in length, accompanied by a brief CV. Send by August 1, 2022 to both conveners of the conference:
Norman JW Goda, Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies, Center for Jewish Studies, University of Florida (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Edward Kissi, Associate Professor, Department of Africana Studies, School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, University of South Florida (email@example.com)