This amazing workshop, “Interrogating the Sacred: Tending to Holocaust Object,” took place summer 2023, delayed a year because of Covid. It was an extraordinary Two Weeks!
Read more about it here:
Stay tuned for a special Issue of MAVCOR, the online journal of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion on this topic! https:/https://mavcor.yale.edu/
THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2022 AT 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM EDT
The University of Warsaw, American Studies Center
We are pleased to announce the lecture “American Jewish Loss After the Holocaust: An Object Lesson” by Prof. Laura Levitt (Temple University).This lecture is a part of the 2021/2022 Spring Edition of the American Studies Colloquium Series.Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85864913094Thursday, May 12, 2022
5:15 pm CET
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 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).
This talk asks critical questions about the future of Holocaust commemoration in the United States. How will the Holocaust continued to be remembered as memory and history come together, as those survivors who have so powerfully told their stories and lived their lives after the Holocaust are coming to their last days.? This talk describes how the Shoah has been commemorated in the United States and what is at stake at this historical crossroad. It addresses what it means to consider “after” as not just after the war, or after the Shoah, but as memory becomes history. It describes how the Holocaust has been remembered in the United States in the past and how it might be remembered going forward. It reconsiders how the loss that is the Shoah is experienced and understood in relation to other American Jewish losses not as competitive memories but rather in terms of how different losses touch and illuminate each other. And finally, it focuses on what will continue to prompt those memories, the people but also increasingly, the objects that occasion these enactments.2 OZNCheck our our entire roster of events at the ASC website: https://www.asc.uw.edu.pl/…/american-studies…/..
An article about this talk and the opening of a powerful exhibit!
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2021 • 5 PM, via Zoom
Free and open to the public
To watch this program: https://udel.zoom.us/rec/play/OD4_OUmupDXCC-NdbZ1-d5t8baq5VMZJbV07wSRyvvs1LMToghL3RGHts08dEnoAaoSeRDava3jLBrWi.V9Hf5mjKbJQt61aa?continueMode=true&_x_zm_rtaid=LoI_MYOQSRWFddoRptXYow.1635440425090.3bd309e7697c958a858ffa575e67123a&_x_zm_rhtaid=541
To read this review (In French): https://cjs.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/cjs/article/view/40227/36407
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.
To Watch the Video, go tohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nd6obCB2ng
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.
For people who haven’t read the book yet, can you talk a little bit about the relationships that you make between the types of evidence that you discuss? What are the connections that you make between criminal evidence that exists in police custody and then the types of evidence that you’re interested in in museums and archives?
I’m really interested in tainted objects, objects that have been brushed by violence. I was looking particularly at the Holocaust Museum, and the conservators working there. They had to adapt the practices of conservation for objects from the concentration camps — shoes, hair, clothing — which are in many ways criminal evidence. They testify to the crimes of genocide, some more intimately than others. I am particularly interested in clothing — in Jane Mixer’s clothing, in my own clothing that was taken from my crime scene, and which I hoped was in police storage somewhere. I think these tainted objects have a lot in common, but what’s different is that the objects that are in police storage are not accessible to the public. Occasionally, criminal evidence can become available, but in most cases it is not. And so we have only our imaginations. We remember those objects but we don’t physically see them.
“I challenge the notions of both legal and even theological justice as the only ways of imagining justice. Instead, what I explore is a more active, immanent form of doing justice through the crafting, telling, and sharing of stories that animate the objects transformed by violence. I think about the ways that these objects become sacred through our tender regard, the care of those police property managers, conservators, collections managers, curators, archivists, and librarians who are in custody of these collected artifacts, and those who tell their various stories, the poets and writers, artists, historians, journalists, and performers who continue to breathe new life into these otherwise inanimate objects. What makes these objects animate, meaningful, compelling, and indeed, holy are all of these human engagements.”
For the full text, https://pennstateuniversitypress.tumblr.com/