“Space in Holocaust Research”. An International, Interdisciplinary Conference Hamburg, 23 – 26 March 2020
Aim and Objectives
“Space in Holocaust Research” is the first conference in Germany to examine ‘space’ as a central category of Holocaust research from a theoretical and methodological perspective. It is conceptualized and organized by Janine Fubel (Berlin), Alexandra Klei (Hamburg/Berlin), Katrin Stoll (Warsaw), and Annika Wienert (Warsaw). The conference is a co-operation between the German Historical Institute Warsaw and the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg. The overarching goal of the conference is to foster interdisciplinary Holocaust Studies, a research field that as of yet has no institutional framework in German academia.
The project takes as its point of departure the discussions about the ‘spatial turn’ that have taken place in the humanities since the 1980s. In the course of these discussions, an understanding of space beyond Newton’s container model has gained acceptance. Space is now understood as a process and perceived in relational terms, as something that is socially produced and socially effective. The project combines inter- and transdisciplinary discussions of a spatial turn in the humanities with recent research on the Holocaust and its legacy. Such a synthesis is still lacking. The paradigm of space will allow for cross-disciplinary discussions on central issues of Holocaust research and for a prolific integration of new approaches. Integrating various disciplines will enable a critical analysis of terms as well as of theoretical and methodological questions.
While references to space, place and sites have become an integral part in works dealing with the history of the Holocaust and its legacy, a metaphorical way of speaking has predominated thus far. In contradistinction to this, the conference seeks to analyze the production and construction of space (material, immaterial, historical, current or imagined). ‘Space’ will be examined as a central category of Holocaust research. For this purpose the various panels will be interdisciplinary and devoted to key themes rather than structured along chronological, geographical, or disciplinary coordinates.
The conference will take place from 23 to 26 March 2020 in Hamburg. The conference languages will be English and German. It is aimed at both up-and-coming and established researchers. Doctoral students are encouraged to apply. One panel will take place outside the conference room. It consists of three or four parallel one-hour walking tours covering the subject of the relation of (urban) space, history, and memory.
The organizers also envisage organizing a public reading devoted to a literary text, as well as a day trip to the memorial site of the former prisoner of war camp in Sandbostel, approx. 60 km west of Hamburg. The memorial site was established in 2014 and is one of the lesser known sites within the system of National Socialist camps. While the terrain was neglected for decades, material remains of the original camp site have… READ MORE