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The Objects that Remain: Criminal Evidence, Holocaust Artifacts, and Work of Doing Justice

Public lecture by Laura Levitt sponsored with the Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (JIMES) Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri

March 6, 2023 @ 5:00 am 6:30 am Live: Umrath Lounge Washington University in St. Louis

Building from her book, The Objects That Remain, Laura Levitt will consider the ways in which the material remains of violent crimes inform our experience of, and thinking about, trauma and loss. She will do this by focusing on artifacts in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and evidence in police storage facilities across the United States. What might it mean to do justice to violent pasts outside the juridical system or through historical empiricism, the dominant ways in which we think about evidence from violent crimes and other highly traumatic events? What do the objects that remain and the stories that surround them enable and what forms of intimacy are possible in our lives after? Levitt offers a form of companionship as a different kind of reckoning where justice becomes an animating process of telling and holding. While addressing the afterlives of trauma, she will also consider the relationship between traumatic once ordinary objects and those we continue to live with. What possessions do we let go of and which ones do we keep?

This event is free and open to all. Umrath Lounge is open seating and doors will open at 4:30 p.m. for this event.

Please register at rap@wustl.edu or 314-935-9345 so we can appropriately plan.

About the speakers
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 (Penn State University Press, November 2020); American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust (2007); and Jews and Feminism: The Ambivalent Search for Home (1997). With Laurence Silberstein and Shelley Hornstein, she edited Impossible Images: Contemporary Art After the Holocaust (2003), and with Miriam Peskowitz she edited Judaism Since Gender (1997). Laura Levitt edits NYU Press’s North American Religions Series with Tracy Fessenden (Arizona State University) and David Harrington Watt (Haverford College).

She currently chairs the Committee on Sexual Misconduct for the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) and led the task force that created and implemented this learned society’s sexual misconduct policies and procedures.