The Objects That Remain

Virtual Book Talk: The Afterlives of Trauma

Laura Levitt and Dawn Skorczewski in Conversation with James Young, The Wiener Holocaust Library, London, May 17, 2021

This panel discussion will consider questions about life after trauma, violence, and loss: what makes this possible? What is the role of art and literature in doing justice to these pasts and imagining different futures? What is the relationship between trauma and art or writing? Professor Dawn Skorczewski and Professor Laura Levitt will be led in conversation by Professor James Young.

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About the speakers:

Dawn Skorczewski is Lecturer at Amsterdam University College, and Research Professor of English Emerita at Brandeis University. Her research interests include the Holocaust, psychoanalysis, pedagogy, poetry, writing, and trauma. Several recent articles address the Holocaust survivors of the Dutch Diamond Industry, the interviewer’s role in Holocaust testimonies, and Jan Karski’s interviews. Her 2012 work An Accident of Hope positions the therapy tapes of American poet Anne Sexton at the intersections of poetry, trauma, pedagogy, and testimony.

Laura Levitt is Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies, and Gender at Temple University where she has chaired the Religion Department and directed both the Jewish Studies and the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Programs. Levitt is the author of The Objects that Remain (2020); American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust (2007); and Jews and Feminism: The Ambivalent Search for Home (1997) and a co-editor of Impossible Images: Contemporary Art After the Holocaust (2003) and Judaism Since Gender (1997). Levitt edits NYU Press’s North American Religions Series with Tracy Fessenden (Arizona State University) and David Harrington Watt (Haverford College).

James E. Young is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of English and Judaic & Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he has taught since 1988, and Founding Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at UMass Amherst. Professor Young has written widely on public art, memorials, and national memory.