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Interviews with Scholars of Genocide about their New Books

Interviews with Scholars of Genocide about their New Books
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Interviews with Scholars of Genocide about their New Books




Raz Segal, “Genocide in the Carpathians: War, Social Breakdown and Mass Violence, 1914-1945” (Stanford UP, 2016)

Telling the history of the Holocaust in Hungary has long meant telling the story of 1944. Raz Segal, in his new book Genocide in the Carpathians: War, Social Breakdown and Mass Violence, 1914-1945 (Stanford University Press, 2016), reminds us that this is only part of the story, and that focusing...


Jennifer Yusin, “The Future Life of Trauma: Partitions, Borders, Repetition” (Fordham UP, 2017)

How does postcolonial theory and the work of Freud help us understand trauma? In The Future Life of Trauma: Partitions, Borders, Repetition (Fordham University Press, 2017), Dr. Jennifer Yusin, Associate Professor of English and Philosophy at Drexel University, explores both of these approaches for thinking trauma in the the context of a range of...


Robert A. Wilson, “The Eugenic Mind Project” (MIT Press, 2017)

For most of us, eugenics — the “science of improving the human stock” — is a thing of the past, commonly associated with Nazi Germany and government efforts to promote a pure Aryan race. This view is incorrect: even in California, for example, sterilization of those deemed mentally defective was...


Sara J. Brenneis, “Spaniards in Mauthausen: Representations of a Nazi Concentration Camp, 1940-2015” (U Toronto, 2018)

To be quite honest, I had no idea there were any Spanish prisoners at Mauthausen. That’s perhaps an unusual way to begin a blog post. But it reflects a real gap in the literature about the Holocaust, one that Sara J. Brenneis identifies and fills in her new book Spaniards in Mauthausen: Representations...


Jess Melvin, “The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: Mechanics of Mass Murder” (Routledge, 2018)

It’s not often that you run across a smoking gun. Jess Melvin did, at an archive in Banda Aceh. Since the massacres in Indonesia in 1965-66, academics, journalists, politicians and military officials have argued about the motivations for the killing. With little documentation to draw from, these debates relied on careful...


Mary Fulbrook, “Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice” (Oxford UP, 2018)

What voices have been silenced in the history of the Holocaust? How did victims and perpetrators make sense of their experiences? How did the failed pursuit of post-war justice shape public memory? In her new book Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice (Oxford University Press, 2018),...


Ludivine Broch, “Ordinary Workers, Vichy and the Holocaust: French Railwaymen and the Second World War” (Cambridge UP, 2016)

This spring and summer, the workers of the Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF) staged a series of rolling strikes, slowing and shutting down the country’s major lines of travel and transport. It wasn’t the first time that France’s cheminots (railway workers) have taken a stand, and it...


Simon Levis Sullam, “The Italian Executioners: The Genocide of the Jews of Italy” (Princeton UP, 2018)

In his new book, The Italian Executioners: The Genocide of the Jews of Italy (Princeton University Press, 2018), Simon Levis Sullam, associate professor of modern history at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, examines how ordinary Italians became willing perpetrators and actively participated in the deportation of Italian Jews between 1943...


Katherine McGregor et al, “The Indonesian Genocide of 1965: Causes, Dynamics and Legacies” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

I don’t often start these blog posts with comments about the cover art. But the reproduction of Alit Ambara’s “After 1965,” featured on the cover of the new set of essays The Indonesian Genocide of 1965: Causes, Dynamics and Legacies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), fits the subject perfectly. The piece compels your...


Lynne Viola, “Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: Scenes from the Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine” (Oxford UP, 2017)

What happened inside NKVD interrogation rooms during the Great Terror? How did the perpetrators feel when the Soviet state turned on them in 1938 during “the purge of the purgers?” In her newest book, Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: Scenes from the Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine (Oxford University Press, 2017),...


Waitman Beorn, “The Holocaust in Eastern Europe: At the Epicenter of the Final Solution” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018)

Most of the Jews and other victims the Nazis murdered in the Holocaust were from Eastern Europe, and the vast majority of the actual killing was done there. In his new book, The Holocaust in Eastern Europe (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), Waitman Beorn gives us a detailed overview of the Holocaust precisely here, in what...


Hans-Lukas Kieser, “Talaat Pasha: Father of Modern Turkey, Architect of Genocide” (Princeton UP, 2018)

As a graduate student, I spent quite a bit of time explaining to people how we needed to pay much more attention to the history of World War One in the East. What I didn’t realize is that we needed to see the war as it appeared from Istanbul just...


Geoffrey Robinson, “The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-1966” (Princeton UP, 2018)

I first assigned Joshua Oppenheimer’s film “The Act of Killing” for my course in Comparative Genocide at Newman. The movie is a documentary about the mass violence in Indonesia beginning in 1965. My students and I found it chilling: emotionally moving, troubling, and enormously sad. Naturally, they had many questions....


Anika Walke, “Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia” (Oxford UP, 2015)

How did Soviet Jews respond to the Holocaust and the devastating transformations that accompanied persecution? How was the Holocaust experienced, survived, and remembered by Jewish youth living in Soviet territory? Anika Walke, Assistant Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis, examines these important questions in Pioneers and Partisans:...


Shira Klein, “Italy’s Jews From Emancipation to Fascism” (Cambridge UP, 2018)

What was Italy’s role in the Holocaust? Why is it that Italy is known as the Axis power that was benevolent to Jews, despite a scholarly consensus that many Italians actively participated in anti-Jewish persecution? In Italy’s Jews from Emancipation to Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Shira Klein skillfully narrates...


John Nathaniel Clarke, “British Media and the Rwandan Genocide” (Routledge Press, 2018)

It seems safe to assume that media coverage changes the behavior of politicians and voters. And it seems safe to assume this happens in cases of humanitarian crisis. But it’s really hard to go beyond these platitudes to determine exactly how this feedback loop works. John Nathaniel Clarke’s new book, British...


Erica Lehrer, “Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places” (Indiana UP, 2013)

Sometime in the very early 1990s, while I was in grad school, I got a call from a student at Grinnell College, where I myself had graduated asking me about studying Poland. It was an engaging chat with a young woman very interested in exploring Poland and the relationship between...


Steven J. Zipperstein, “Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History” (Liveright/Norton, 2018)

In what has become perhaps the most infamous example of modern anti-Jewish violence prior to the Holocaust, the Kishinev pogrom should have been a small story lost to us along with scores of other similar tragedies. Instead, Kishinev became an event of international intrigue, and lives on as the paradigmatic...


Kevin Simpson, “Soccer under the Swastika: Stories of Survival and Resistance during the Holocaust” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016)

Today we are joined by Kevin Simpson, the author of Soccer under the Swastika: Stories of Survival and Resistance during the Holocaust (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2016). In Soccer under the Swastika, Simpson recovers a largely forgotten history of the sports during Holocaust. Through a close reading of wartime memoirs,...


Thomas Weber, “Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi” (Basic Books, 2017)

Few would dispute that Hitler’s ideas led to war and genocide. Less clear however, is how and when those ideas developed. In his latest book, Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi (Basic Books, 2017), Thomas Weber highlights the years between 1918 and 1926 as the period in which Hitler’s...