CFP: Testimony, Memory and Reading Trauma in Representations of the Holocaust

University of East Anglia, Norwich
July 15, 2017
Stichtag: 30.04.2017

“I am choking, I am drowning. This pencil and these scraps of paper aren’t enough. I need colours, sounds – oils and orchestras. I need something more than words.”
Martin Amis, The Zone of Information (2014)

“Postmemory is a powerful form of Memory precisely because its connection to its object source is not mediated through recollection but through an imaginative investment and creation. Postmemory characterizes the experiences of those who grow up dominated by narratives that preceded their birth, whose own belated stories are evacuated by stories of the previous generation, shaped by traumatic events that can be neither fully understood nor re-created.”
Marianne Hirsch, Past Lives: Postmemories in Exile (1996)

This symposium, to be held on 15 July 2017 at the University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK), proposes a critical insight into contemporary representations of the Holocaust in Fiction, Poetry, Film, Historical and artistic interpretations. An intention to showcase research which considers how interpretations of Holocaust memory and readings of narrative trauma challenge and redefine central conceptions of Holocaust studies, as well as opening a space for debate on varying forms of testimony in the Humanities. New critical perspectives such as speculative readings of the Holocaust as influence or after-image, as well as works considered examples of Holocaust impiety are of particular interest. Both researchers and practitioners are encouraged to submit papers.

Examples include:

  • How the fiction of W.G. Sebald, Cynthia Ozick, Bernard Schlink, Martin Amis, Michael Chabon, David Grossman, Herta Müller, Jonathan Safran-Foer, Johnathan Little, Patrick Modiano and Dăsa Drndić addresses re-interpretations of Holocaust memory
  • How Poets addressed the Holocaust after the assertion of Theodor Adorno that after Auschwitz the practice of writing poetry would be “barbaric”
  • Film and Documentary approaches to addressing Holocaust subjects
  • How the graphic work of Art Spiegelman and Anselm Kiefer addresses the “unimaginable” challenge of representations of the individual’s interpretation of genocide
  • How Holocaust studies have influenced the rhetoric of Human Rights discourse and registration in the 21st century
  • Current critical debates on Postmemory and Trauma: The Aftereffects of Holocaust Imagery on Creative Representation

This symposium will feature panels consisting of University of East Anglia staff and postgraduate research students, as well as scholars and practitioners from other institutions and industries.

Contact Info:
Please send proposals for papers (20 minutes in duration) to Westley Barnes ( at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom. Proposals should be no more than 300 words in length and address the themes of the call. Please include your contact details and a short biography (250 words).The deadline for submission of proposals is 30 April 2017.

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