From Cassin to Adorjan: Trauma Working Group Welcomes University of Melbourne Scholar
On the 27 June I paid a visit to Birkbeck College, University of London to see Yale University Professor Jay Winter deliver a great lecture on Rene Cassin, one of the leading legal figures writing the text and orchestrating the political process which led to the inauguration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
Winter’s lecture offered a fascinating biographical perspective on Cassin’s professional practice in international law, arguing that although it was the Holocaust which compounded his committment to Universal Rights, it was his experience of World War One that formed the seedbed of his beliefs and attitudes. While Cassin’s work remained problematically Euro-centric, his sensitivity to those affected by war and conflict remains particularly pertinent at a time when press headlines are drawing attention to the appalling refugee crisis in Syria.
On Wednesday 10th July, the Working Group on Interdisciplinary Research in Trauma, Narrative and Performance held its annual meeting and was followed by ‘Acts of Remembrance’. This event featured a paper by Dr Sonya Andermahr on Jeanette Winterson, autobiography and trauma narratives as well as a panel on contemporary directions in Holocaust remembrance featuring myself and special guest speaker, Dr Esther Jilovsky.
I met Esther at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and a 2013 Visiting Scholar to Humboldt University. I discussed my research on international trends in Holocaust memorialisation with specific reference to a case study on Britain and Lithuania and Esther gave a fascinating paper on ‘Third Generation Representations of the Holocaust in Print and Online’. Esther began by discussing how members of the third generation witness ‘through imagination’ and are important because they are the last generation to know survivors personally. She then analysed Jonathan Safran Foer’s, ‘Everything is Illuminated’ and Joanna Adorjan’s ‘An Exclusive Love’ before looking at the diverse ways in which members of the Third Generation use Facebook in order to construct, ‘Testimony in a Digital Age’.
At the Working Group meeting it was also great to catch up with fellow members Dr Patrick Duggan (The University of Exeter), Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Alan Smith (The University of Northampton) as well as PhD students Ally Walsh, Gareth Warrington and Anna Maria Pilar Royo Grasa (The University of Zaragoza).
Posted on July 24, 2013, in Events, School of the Arts and tagged Doctor of Philosophy, Exeter University, holocaust, Jay Winter, Jeanette Winterson, Jonathan Safran Foer, Patrick Duggan, University of Zaragoza. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.