Fall 2020 Event Programming
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Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 5:00pm (EST)
“Resistance and Rescue in History and Memory. Rethinking Opposition in Nazi Germany”
A panel discussion of the new book:
Lives Reclaimed. A Story of Rescue and Resistance in Nazi Germany
by Mark Roseman
Lives Reclaimed. A Story of Rescue and Resistance in Nazi Germany (Holt, Henry & Company, Inc., 2019) tells the story of a little-known German left-wing group, based in the Ruhr, that survived the Nazi years and reached out during the Third Reich to assist Jews in the region. He analyzes the choices and challenges both sides faced as they negotiated dictatorship and Holocaust. It also pursues the group into the postwar period, in particular seeking to understand why they enjoyed so little resonance or recognition for their actions after 1945. Here Roseman has a larger story to tell, about the way the memory of rescue has come to occlude the experience of it.
Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann is Associate Professor in Late Modern European History at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent publications include (as co-editor), (2016); (2018); as well as (2018), a new edition and translation of Reinhart Koselleck’s writings.
Rebecca Wittmann is Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto. She has recently edited Eichmann: The Man, the Trial, the Aftermath (forthcoming, University of Toronto Press) and is currently working on a project entitled Guilt and Shame through the Generations: Confronting the Past in Postwar Germany
Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 5:00pm (EST)
“Will Trump Go?”
A talk by Lawrence Douglas
Donald Trump is already trying to invalidate the 2020 elections in myriad ways. But how well equipped is our constitutional and legal system to deal with an electoral crisis? During this event, Constitutional Law expert Lawrence Douglas will discuss his book WILL HE GO?, which asks what would happen if Trump doesn’t concede this coming November. This scenario was only narrowly avoided during Bush V Gore, and in the hyper-partisan Washington of today, concession does not seem likely.
Lawrence Douglas is the James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College, as well as a known writer for The Guardian. He is the prize-winning author of seven books, most recently WILL HE GO: Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020 (Grand Central Publishing, 2020).
Registeration is required for all events. Register for this Webinar at: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iACCQiB5QvWt62UHbjv7Lg
Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 5:00pm (EST)
A panel discussion of the new book:
“Moses Mendelssohn’s Afterlives and the Invention of Modern Jewish Memory”
by Martina Steer
Martina Steer, Abigail Gillman, and Michael Brenner discuss Moses Mendelssohn as a central figure for the cult of memory in modern Jewish societies. Posthumously, Mendelssohn became a paramount point of reference for Jewish culture and his memory was transmitted across generations, religious groups, and national borders from the late eighteenth century to the rise of National Socialism. Mendelssohn’s life was constructed and disputed across national borders as a paradigm of Jewish modernity. An entangled analysis of the agents of memory, multi-media memory practices, and his reception in Germany, Poland, and the United States sheds light on the dynamics and transnational connectivity of Jewish memory.
Martina Steer is Adjunct Professor of Modern Jewish history at the University of Vienna. She was a visiting fellow at various universities, among them New York University, the European University Institute in Florence, and the University of Wroclaw. She is currently working on a social and emotional history of Jewish women in Germany and Austria after 1945. Her latest book is Mendelssohn und seine Nachwelt. Eine Kulturgeschichte der jüdischen Erinnerung (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2019).
Abigail Gillman is Professor of Hebrew, German and Comparative Literature in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Boston University. She is the author of Viennese Jewish Modernism: Freud, Hofmannsthal, Beer-Hofmann and Schnitzler (Penn State Press, 2009) and A History of German Jewish Bible Translation (University of Chicago Press, 2018).
Michael Brenner is the Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies and director of the Center for Israel Studies at American University. His latest publications are In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea (Princeton University Press, 2018) and as editor, and A History of Jews in Germany since 1945 (Indiana University Press 2018).
Registeration is required for all events. Register for this Webinar at: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UJwOJStZSwCOBTuEUwhL1w
Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 5:00pm (EST)
A panel discussion of the new book:
A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in
by Monica Black
In the years after WWII, Germany was convulsed by a series of mass supernatural phenomena. Waves of apocalyptic rumors surged through the country. A messianic faith healer rose to extraordinary fame. Prayer groups performed exorcisms. Enormous crowds traveled to witness thousands of apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Most strikingly, scores of people accused their neighbors of witchcraft and found themselves in turn hauled into court on charges of defamation, assault, and even murder. Monica Black’s A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany (Holt, Henry & Company, Inc., 2020) argues that this surge of supernatural obsessions in the wake of an annihilationist war and the Holocaust stemmed from the unspoken guilt and shame of a nation remarkably silent about what was euphemistically called “the most recent past.” A Demon-Haunted Land offers a shadow history of the immediate post-1945 era, placing in full view the toxic mistrust, profound bitterness, and spiritual malaise that unfolded in postwar, post-Holocaust West Germany alongside the famed “economic miracle.”
Monica Black is Associate Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her first book, Death in Berlin: From Weimar to Divided Germany, won the Wiener Library Ernst Fraenkel and Hans Rosenberg Prizes. She is the editor-in-chief of the journal Central European History.
Ulrike Weckel is Professor of History at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen, Germany, specializing in the representations of the past in the media and among the public. Her research interests include postwar dealings with Germany’s Nazi past, gender history in late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, media history and audience reception. She is the author of Beschämende Bilder. Deutsche Reaktionen auf alliierte Dokumentarfilme über befreite Konzentrationslager (Stuttgart 2012).
Alexander C.T. Geppert is Associate Professor of History and European Studies at New York University, jointly appointed at NYU Shanghai, the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, and the Department of History. Recent book publications include a trilogy on European astroculture, consisting of Imagining Outer Space (2nd edn, 2018), Limiting Outer Space (2018) and Militarizing Outer Space (2020).
Natalie Scholz is Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Amsterdam. She works on the cultural history of the political in modern Europe (France and Germany) with a focus on symbolic representations and popular imaginations. Her current book project explores the political meanings of everyday objects in postwar West Germany.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020, 5:00pm (EST)
Kristallnacht Memorial Event
“Jewish and Other Refugees: Between the 1930s and the Present”
A panel discussion of the new book:
Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal, 1940-1945
by Marion Kaplan
Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal, 1940-1945 (Yale University Press, 2020) depicts the travails of refugees escaping Nazi Europe and awaiting their fate in Portugal. Drawing attention not only to the social and physical upheavals of refugee existence, the book highlights refugees' feelings as they fled their homes and histories while begging strangers for kindness. Portugal’s dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar, admitted tens of thousands of Jews fleeing westward but set his secret police on those who did not move on quickly. Yet Portugal’s people left a lasting impression on refugees as caring and generous. Most refugees in Portugal showed strength and stamina as they faced unimagined challenges. For the refugees, Lisbon emerged as a site of temporality and transition, a “no-man’s-land” between a painful past and a hopeful future. Paying careful attention to the words of refugees in Portugal may help us to understand Jewish heartbreak and perseverance in the 1940s and also to listen compassionately to refugees’ stories in our own times.
Marion Kaplan is the Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University. She is a three-time National Jewish Book Award winner for The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family and Identity in Imperial Germany (1991), Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (1998), and Gender and Jewish History (with Deborah Dash Moore, 2011).
Debórah Dwork is Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the Ralph Bunche Institute, The Graduate Center – CUNY. She served as the Founding Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. Internationally renowned for several award-winning books, including Children With A Star; Auschwitz; and Flight from the Reich, she is also a leading authority on university education in this field.
David Hernández is Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies at Mount Holyoke College. An interdisciplinary scholar, with a doctorate in Ethnic Studies from U.C. Berkeley, his research focuses on immigration enforcement, the U.S. detention regime, in particular. He is completing a book on this institution titled Alien Incarcerations: Immigrant Detention and Lesser Citizenship for the University of California Press.
Joel Wolfe is Professor of Modern Latin American History at UMass Amherst. His is the author of Working Women, Working Men: São Paulo and the Rise of Brazil’s Industrial Working Class (Duke 1993) and Autos and Progress: The Brazilian Search for Modernity (Oxford 2010). He is writing The Global Twenties: Work, Life, and Trade in the Western Hemisphere in the 1920s and Brazil: An Incomplete Nation.