Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Students talking at Graduate Conference

2016-2017 Events
Free and Open to the Public


29 September, 2016
7:30pm Traina Center for the Arts, Razzo Hall

Worcester Chamber Music Society Presents: Into the Abyss

Pre-concert talk with Rohan Gregory, 7:00pm

Olivier Messiaen composed his Quartet for the End of Time while incarcerated in a Nazi detentiona camp. The piece is deeply imbued, not with the anger which those outside felt towards these camps, but with a profound sense of spiritual escape. Combined with the stark and evocative Copland Piano Quartet, the bold and rhythmic And Life Like Froth Doth Throb for Viola and Cello by Eric Moe, and the excuberance of Schulhoff "s Flute Sonata, this program is a tour de force of great Twentieth Century musical vision. For more information email

5 October, 2016
3:00pm Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

The Failed Military Coup in Turkey and Being an Armenian Deputy in Ankara

Speaker: Garo Paylan, Armenian Deputy of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.  Listen to audio from the event.

Garo Paylan represents Istanbul as a deputy in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.  He is a member of the Peoples' Democratic Party (known as the pro-Kurdish party) and one of the first Armenian members of Turkey's parliament in decades.  Renowned as a thorn in the side of the Turkish government, especially ultra-nationalists, Paylan has delivered several courageous parliamentary speeches including one with the picture of Armenian deputies of the Ottoman Parliament during the genocide.  As a result, he has been the suject of physical attacks and hate speech. 

Paylan will dusicuss recent political developments in Turkey, including the latest coup attempt and subsequent developments, Kurdish questions, and his personal experience as an Armenian deputy in the Turkish parliament.

6 October, 2016
4:30pm Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

The Challenges in Indian Country in the 21st Century: Planning, Law, Community.

Speakers: Judy Dworkin and David Pijawka, in conversation with Jody Emel and Thomas Kühne, Clark University. Listen to audio from the event.

Judy Dworkin is Head of Indian Law and Tribal Relations Practice Group for SacksTierney Law in Phoenix, Arizona.  She is appellate justice of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Council Court, judge pro tem for the Tohoono O'odham Nation and special judge to the Fallon-Paiute Shoshone Tribe.  She is also a solicitor to the Hualapai Tribe.  She also teaches at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. 

David Pijawka is associate Director, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University.  He is also Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.  He has been involved in various community projects, including the evaluation of Scottsdale's Green Building program and workshops on Tribal community planning. 

20 October, 2016
4:00pm Dana Commons, Higgins Lounge

The Chester Bland-Dwight E. Lee Lecture: Settler Colonialism, Native Peoples, and Imperial Balances of Power in Colonial North America

Speaker: Daniel K. Richter (University of Pennsylvania)

Scholars often interpret relations between Europeans and Indigenous Peoples in terms of "settler colonialism," which was predicated on the elimination of Native societies.  But European Settlers in North America were almost always constrained by power relationships in which Native Peoples held the upper hand and by contests amoung multiple European Empires. 

Daniel K. Richter is the Richard S Dunn Director of the McNeil Center for Eearly American Studies and the Roy F. and Jeanneatte P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylviania.  He is the author of many articles and four important books, including Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

This lecture is supported by the Chester and Shirley Bland History Fund established in 1969 in honor of Professor Dwight E. Lee.  The fund brings distinguished historians to Clark University to present their scholarship in a free and open public lecture. 

26 October, 2016
7:30 pm Tilton Hall

Holocaust History and Survivor Testimony: The Case of the Starachowice Factory Slave Labor Camps

Speaker: Christopher Browning (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).  Listen to audio from the event.

Dr. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ,and the author of serveral landmark works in the field of Holocaust istory, including Ordinalry Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (Harper Collins, 1992); and Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp (W.W. Norton, 2010). His talk will examine the history of the Starachowice labor camp in central Poland, where between 1942 and 1944 thousands of Jews were forced to work under brutal conditions to produce munitions for the German war effort.  The Testimonies of the nearly three hundred camp survivors comprise some of the only evidence of the camp's existence, and Professor Browning's lecture will pay particular attention to the methodological challenges historians face when using survivor testimony to document the crimes of the Nazi regime. 

This lecture was made possible through the generous support of Clark University alumni Judi and Lawrence Bohn.  Co-sponsored by the W. Arthur Garrity Sr. Professorship in Human Nature, Ethics and Society at the College of the Holy Cross, the Philosophy Department at Worcester State University, and the Departments of History and Political Science at Clark University.

26 January 2017
6:30pm, Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

Four Captial Cities of Armenian Printing, 1512-2012: Venice, Constantinople/Istanbul, Tiflis/Tbilisi and Yerevan.

Speaker: Ara Sanjian (University of Michigan)

Professor Sanjian is the author of the exhibition catalogue, Celebrating the Legacy of Five Centuries of Armenian-Language Book Printing.  The 2012 exhibition at the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum (Southfield, Michigan) was organized to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first Armenian-language books were published through presses throughout Europe and western Asia as early as 1512.  Armenian was one of the earliest languages in the world in which books were printed.  This exhibition showed the diversity of where Armenian-language books were printed and the global reach of the Armenian people. 

This lecture is sponsored by Professor Taner Akçam and the Friends of the Robert Aram and marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies.

14 February 2017
4:00pm, Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

Caucasian Crossways: the Holocaust, Circassian Genocide, and Stalin's Deportations

Speaker: Chen Bram (Hebrew University) Listen to audio from the event.

This lecture discusses the crossways and intersections between histories and memories of Holocaust, Genocide and forced deportations in the Caucasus.  Focusing on the Circassian Genocide of 1864, the Holocaust, and the mass deportations of Chechens, Ingush, Meskhetians and ethnic group under Stalin in 1944, Dr. Bram will examine how these connections are manifested in two recent struggles for recognition as victims: that of the Caucasus "Mountain" Jews and that of the Circassians (Adyghe).  Special attention will be given to the way such crossways appear in the testimonies and accounts of Holocaust survivors from the Caucasus.

This lecture is sponsored by Dana and Yossie Hollander.

23 February 2017
4:00pm, Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

Genocide in the Carpathians: War, Social Breakdown, and Mass Violence, 1914-1945.

Speaker: Raz Segal (Stockton University) Listen to the audio from the event.

Genocide in the Carpathians presents the history of Subcarpathian Rus', a multi-ethnic and multi-religious borderland in the heart of Europe.  This society of Carpatho-Ruthenians, Jews, Magyars, and Roma disintergrated first under the pressure of state building in interwar Czechoslovakia and, during World War II, from the onslaught of Hungarian occupation authorities.  Charges of foreignness and disloyalty to the Hungarian state linked antisemitism to xenophobia and national security anxieties. 

Drawing on Raphael Lemkin who coined the term "genocide," Dr. Segal argues that genocide in the region unfolded as a Hungarian policy aimed at thorough social and cultural destruction, well before the German invasion of Hungary in March 1944 and the mass deportations of Jews to Auschwitz that followed it throughout the spring and summer.  This perspective reorients our view of the Holocaust not simply as a German drive for continent-wide genocide, but as a truly international campaign of mass violence, closely related to violence against non-Jews unleashed by projects of state and nation building across Europe. 

This lecture is sponsored by the Raskin Young Family Fund.

1 March 2017
4:00pm, Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

Responding to Violence: Female Voices and the Armenian Genocide

Speakers: Barbara J. Merguerian (Director, Armenian International Women's Association), Judy Saryan (Author and Project Manager, Armenian International Women's Association), and Dana Walrath (Independent Scholar, Artist and Writer). 

Listen to audio from the event.

Historian Barbara J. Merguerian, a founder of the Armenian International Women's Association (AIWA), will moderate a discussion about women's responses to the Armenian Genocide.  Judy Saryan will present Zabel Yessayan's groundbreaking work, In the Ruins: The 1909 Massacres of Armenians in Adana, Turkey.  AIWA is a sponsor of the Zabel Yessayan Project, which is publishing the writings of this extraordinary Armenian author, the only woman among the Armenian intellectuals targeted for arrest and murder at the start of the Genocide.  Dana Walrath will speak about her novel Like Water on Stone, a fictionalized account based on her family history during the Armenian Genocide.  These works illuminate the history of the Armenians during the latter stages of the Ottoman Empire. Both books offer the point of view of women and children who are often the primary victims of mass murder and genocide. 

This lecture is sponsored by the Kaloosdian Mugar Professor and the Women's and Gender Studies Program

27 March 2017
4:00pm, Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

Kinder, Kirche, Küche, and KZ? Inside the World of Female Perpetrators

Speaker: Eliisa Mailänder (Centre d'Histoire de Sciences Po, Paris) Listen to audio from the event.

This lecture sheds light on the lives, experiences, and violent acts carried out by a group of twenty-eight women who worked as concentration camp guards at Majdanek in occupied Poland between 1942 and 1944.  None of these women were innate agents of terror.  Yet, at different stages of their "careers" each complied with the destructive Nazi policies of colonization, persecution, and extermination, which empowered them to perpetrate workday violence.

National Socialism - as an ideology and modus operandi - spawned new taxonomic relationships between the sexes that are best understood by applying the categories of race, class, and gender.  This intersectional approach more accurately reveals the individual responsibility of these young women, who were mostly in their twenties, in perpetrating National Socialist crimes in occupied Poland.  Although the positions of authroity in the camps remained firmly in the grasp of men, the case of the female camp guards at Majdanek clearly exposes that the war radically modified the relationship between the sexes in Nazi Germany: German women acquired considerable power over camp inmates and occupied civilians.  These women had license to give orders and maltreat individuals - and, in some cases, to kill.

This lecture is sponsored by the William P. Goldman and Brothers Foundation

6 April 2017
7:30pm, Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

Reparations: A way to Achieve Accountability.  The Case of Argentina.

Speaker: Andrea Gaulde (Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation) Listen to audio from the event.

Emerging Expertise Conference, Keynote Lecture.

This lecture is sponsored by the Charles E. Scheidt Family Foundation

8 April 2017
4:30pm, Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies

Speaker: David Rieff, acclaimed journalist, author, and policy analyst. Listen to audio from the event.

Emerging Expertise Conference, Keynote Lecture.

This lecture is sponsored by the Charles E. Scheidt Family Foundation


For past events please refer to our Speaker Archives page.