Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Students talking at Graduate Conference

2017-2018 Events
Free and Open to the Public


9 November 2017
4:00pm, Rose Library

Man or Monster? The Trial of a Khmer Rouge Torturer

Speaker: Alex Hinton, Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, and Professor of Anthropology and Global Affairs, Rutgers University

During the Khmer Rouge’s brutal reign in Cambodia (mid- to late-1970s), a former math teacher named Duch served as the commandant of the S-21 security center, where as many as 20,000 victims were interrogated, tortured, and executed. In the 2009 UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the prosecution painted Duch as evil, while his lawyers claimed he simply followed orders. Hinton will discuss Duch’s trial and how it might help us reconsider Arendt’s notion of the banality of evil in terms of “the banality of everyday thought.”

Sponsored by Judith T. ’75 and Lawrence S. ’76 Bohn

13 September, 2017
4:00pm, Kent Seminar Room, Cohen-Lasry House

Genocide Survivor Testimonies of the USC Visual History Archive.

Speaker: Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and Director, Shoah Foundation

Wolf Gruner will introduce the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. A repository with over 55,000 video testimonies of survivors and other eyewitnesses of the Holocaust, the Rwandan, Armenian, Cambodian, and Guatemalan genocides, and the Nanjing Massacre in China. The interviews, conducted in 41 languages and 62 countries, are life histories and their subject matter covers the history and culture of the countries of the interviewees’ birth and their lives before, during, and after genocide. Gruner will describe how testimonies can enrich research and change perspectives and understanding of the Holocaust and other genocides.

Open to the public by reservation.  Please contact Robyn Conroy at

Sponsored by the William P. Goldman & Brothers Foundation

28 September 2017
6:30pm, Rose Library

From the Armenian Genocide to the Islamic State: The Dynamics of Mass Violence in the Middle East

Speaker: Hamit Bozarslan, Director of Studies and Professor of History at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris

The wide-scale massacres of Armenians under Sultan Abulhamid (1894 – 1896) ushered in a period of mass violence that reached its acme during the Armenian Genocide. This genocide was the most brutal consequence of the articulation of Social-Darwinist theories and “Total War” practices. Far from being a “local event”, it also constituted a pattern for other 20th century genocides. It was also a decisive moment in the brutalization of Near-Eastern societies, which one-century later experienced new mass-violence and ethic/sectarian cleansings. Bozarslan will discuss the historical dimensions of the violence and place it in a long-term theoretical perspective.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor in Armenian Genocide Studies

19 October, 2017
7:00pm Dana Commons, Higgins Lounge

Stories from Syria's Children: Growing up in the Age of Genocide and Displacement.

Speaker: Lina Sergie Attar, Karam Foundation

What does "home" mean to a child growing up as a refugee? What kind of future do we envision for the millions of people fleeing war, searching for sanctuary, and longing to belong? In this personal talk about the Syrian humanitarian crisis and its devastating toll on children, Attar describes living through the deep layers of unimaginable loss when conflict hits home and explores innovative and meaningful ways to nurture hope in a time of despair.

20 October, 2017
9:00am-6:00pm, Dana Commons, Higgins Lounge

Conference: Children and Mass Violence

Attar's lecture is part of a two-day conference that will explore the traumatic impact of mass violence on the most vulnerable segment of society-children and youth.  Experts will examine the destructive strategies and methods of the perpetrators, the suffering of the victims, their agency, their coping mechanisms, and the lasting injuries of those who survived.  They will discuss these issues through the lens of three historical cases: the indigenous children of North America and Australia who were forcefully removed from their families and communities and assimilated into the white settler culture; the orphaned and destitute children who survived the Armenian Genocide; and Jewish children during the Holocaust whom the Nazis deemed dangerous due to their role in continuing the "Jewish race."

Open to the public by reservation.  Please contact Robyn Conroy at

Sponsored by the Friends of the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor in Armenian Genocide Studies, Alan Edelman and Debbie Sosland-Edelman, and Fran Snyder and David Voremberg ’72


For past events please refer to our Speaker Archives page.