Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Students talking at Graduate Conference

Speaker's Archive

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.  Listen to audio from the event.

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

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.   Listen to audio from the event.

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."

Listen to audio from the panel on Native American Genocide with Margaret D. Jacobs, University of Nebraska and Andrew Woolford, University of Manitoba.

Listen to audio from the panel on Armenian Genocide with Nazan Maksudyan, Leibniz Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin and Nora N. Nercessian, Harvard University

Listen to audio from the panel on the Holocaust with Joanna Sliwa, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and Avinoam J. Patt, University of Hartford.

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

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. Listen to audio from the event.

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

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.  Listen to audio from the event.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

15 April, 2016
7:30 pm Razzo Hall, Traina Center for the Arts

President's Lecture: Colonial Genocides in Native North America - Varying Methods and Approaches

Speaker: Ned Blackhawk (Yale University)  Listen to the audio from the event

A member of the Te-moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada, Blackhawk is a Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, where he coordinates the Yale Group for the Study of Native America.  He is the author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (Harvard, 2006), a study of the American Great Basin, which garnered numerous professional prizes, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the organization of American Historians.  In his lecture, he will examine approaches to the study of genocide in native North America.  He will chart the increased attention to the indigenous genocide in Canadian history and explore the reasons for the ongoing erasure of the subject in the study of U.S. history. 

Keynote Lecture for a Special Symposium of the Strassler Center

With the generous support of Ellen Carno '79 and Neil Leifer '76

16 April, 2016
8:45am - 6:30pm Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

Genocide of Native Americans? Indigenous Identity and Mass Violence in North America

Open to the Public             For panelist information please click here.


8:45 am: Welcome
Thomas Kühne, Clark University

9-10 am: “The History of Violence, the Violence of History: Locating Genocide in the North American Past”
Karl Jacoby, Columbia University    Listen to the audio

10:15-11:15 am: “The U.S. Legal History and the On-Going Genocide of Native Americans”
Angelique EagleWoman, University of Idaho    Listen to the audio

11:30-12:30 pm: “The State is a Man: Theresa Spencer, Lorraine Saunders and the Gendered Cost of Settler Sovereignty in Canada”
Audra Simpson, Columbia University    Listen to the audio

2-3 pm: “Genocide in the Americas: Complexities, Contradictions, and Contested Narratives”
Alex Alvarez, Northern Arizona University   Listen to the audio

3:15-4:15 pm: “Historical Trauma as the Legacy of Genocide in American Indian Communities: Complications and Critiques”
Joseph P.Gone, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor     Listen to the audio

4:30-5:30 pm: “So-ver(y)-e(mp)ty in the Space of Abjection: U.S. sovereign immunity, Indigenous Truth-seeking and historical clarification the Shadow of the Wall, Ndé narrative, memorialization, and reparation processes, 2007-2015.”
Margo Tamez, University of British Columbia     Listen to the audio

18 November, 2015
7:30 pm Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

Recognizing Painful Legacies through Memorial Construction

Speakers: Julian Bonder, Deborah Martin (Geography), and Kristen Wilson (Art History)

The question of how communities address painful legacies through memorial construction is the starting point for a discussion between architect Julian Bonder and Clark Professors Deborah Martin and Kristina Wilson. Bonder's well-known Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery in Nantes, France, a port from which hundreds of Atlantic slave-trading expeditions set forth, will serve as the cornerstone. The trio will also look at Bonder's Holocaust-related work and other memorials to mass atrocity.

Listen to audio of the event »

Co-Sponsored by the Graduate School of Geography and Department of Visual and Performing Arts

23 October, 2015
4:00 pm Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

Empire, Nation-State, and Genocide

Speakers: Peter Holquist and Ronald Suny

Ronald Suny (University of Michigan) and Peter Holquist (University of Pennsylvania) discuss genocide in the comparative contexts of the Ottoman and Russian Empires respectively. Recent scholarship, including that of Suny and Holquist, challenges the common understanding of the Armenian Genocide in the context of the Young Turks' plan to eliminate Christians and homogenize Anatolia as part of the founding of Turkey. Instead, scholars are coming to understand genocides of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (including the Armenian Genocide) as a reorganization of empire based on new demographic policies.

Listen to audio of the event »

Co-sponsored by the Political Science and History Departments

12 April, 2015
11am Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

Graduate Student Conference Closing Panel

Speakers: Taner Akçam, Lerna Ekmekçioglu, Donna-Lee Frieze, and Eric Weitz

Closing thoughts by senior scholars about ideas discussed during the Third International Graduate Student Conference- Emerging Scholarship in Holocaust and Genocide Studies 100 Years after the Armenian Genocide

Listen to audio of the event »

In partnership with the Danish Institute for International Studies

9 April 2015
7:30 pm Tilton Hall

The Armenian Genocide, The Holocaust, and the Study of Human Rights

Speakers: Eric Weitz, Dean of Humanities and Arts and Distinguished Professor of History at The City College of New York

Dean Weitz opened the conference, Emerging Scholarship in Holocaust and Genocide Studies 100 Years after the Armenian Genocide. Comparative genocide research and education are now rooted in university centers, scholarly associations, and journals. Weitz argued that the field should grow to include the issue of human rights. Genocide is about human destruction, in response, systems of rights to protect human life and culture have emerged and deserve close attention. Weitz's book, A World Divided: A New Global History from the French Revolution to the Present, is a history of human rights and the segmentation of populations defined by nation or race in the modern era. This lecture commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Listen to audio of the event »

In partnership with the Danish Institute for International Studies

18 March, 2015
4pm Rose Library, Strassler Center For Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Public History of the Holocaust

Speakers: Simone Schweber, Harold Marcuse and Andrew Port

As part of its series on Public History, the Strassler Center brought together three eminent scholars to examine how historical events, particularly genocide, are interpreted, used, or manipulated toward specific ends. Harold Marcuse, University of California, Santa Barbara; "Teaching the Holocaust to the Millennial Generation: The New Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust." Andrew Port, Wayne State University; "To Intervene or not to Intervene — in Foreign Genocides; The Political Use of the Holocaust in German Intervention Debates in the 1990s." Simone Schweber, University of Wisconsin; "Mystifying History: Holocaust Narratives in Fundamentalist Schools."

Listen to audio of the event »

13 November, 2014
7:30 pm Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

Geographies of the Holocaust

Speakers: Anne Knowles

The Holocaust separated families, destroyed communities, displaced millions, created new kinds of places — densely crowded Jewish ghettos and concentration camps — where people labored and died. Each of these traumas was fundamentally geographical, yet few scholars have examined geographies of the Holocaust. Professor Anne Knowles (Middlebury College, Geography Department) highlighted the work of the Holocaust Geographies Collaborative, an international team of historians and geographers who explored this complex event using geographic and methods of analysis — notably Geographic Information Systems (GIS) — and data visualization.

Listen to audio of the event »

Co-Sponsored by the Graduate School of Geography; Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning; Human-Environment Regional Observatory; and Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP).

11 September, 2014
7:30 pm Higgins Lounge, Dana Commons

Narrating Genocide; Literary Representations and Historical Accounts

Speakers: Chris Bohjalian and Khatchig Mouradian

Strassler Center Director and Rose Professor Debórah Dwork moderated a conversation between Strassler Center doctoral candidate Khatchig Mouradian and best-selling author Chris Bohjalian. They discussed different routes to the past (literature and history) and how each genre informs the other. Bohjalian is the author of The sand Castle Girls (2012), an epic novel about the Armenian Genocide and, most recently, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands (2014). Mouradian is completing his dissertation on The 'Ground Zero' of the Armenian Genocide: Destruction and Agency in the Concentration Sites of Syria (1915-1918) and serves as Coordinator of the Armenian Genocide Program at Rutgers University.

Listen to audio of the event »

Co-Sponsored by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research

2 April, 2014
4:15pm rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

Antisemitism and Catholicism in Postwar Poland

Speaker: Brian Porter-Szücs

Professor Brian Porter-Szücs (University of Michigan) discussed Polish antisemitism after 1945. Drawing on his then new book, Poland in the Modern World: Beyond Martyrdom, which pushed discussion of Polish Antisemitism beyond the familiar emphasis on Polish tragedy and suffering, Porter-Szücs discussed the context for understanding modern Polish history within a global framework.

Listen to audio of the event »

13 March, 2014
7:30 pm Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

Lies, Truth, and Fiction: The Holocaust in Literature

Speakers: Ruth Franklin, Contributing Editor at the New Republic

Literature is art and memoir is fact. Franklin explored the limits of this statement in the context of Holocaust memoirs and literature. Can literature help us understand the truth of atrocity? Is memoir as straightforward and truthful as it seems at first glance?

Listen to audio of the event »

13 November, 2013
4:15pm Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

The Nature of German Antisemitism during the Third Reich

Speaker: Tom Kohut (Williams College)

Professor Thomas Kohut (Williams College) built on his interest in the psychological dimension of the past and how psychology is shaped by culture. Using findings from his current research and his recent book, A German Generation: An Experiential History of the Twentieth Century, he analyzed the psychological nature of German antisemitism.

Listen to audio of the event »

3 October, 2013
4pm Rose Library, Cohen-Lasry House

The Challenge of Powerlessness: Writing History from the Victims' Perspective

Speakers: Amos Goldberg (Hebrew University)

From the publication of Anne Frank's diary in 1947 to the more recent availability of other Holocaust diaries and collections, historians and lay readers alike have been intrigued by the window into daily life that diaries offer. Yet using diaries to understand history is not straightforward. Dr. Amos Goldberg, Cutler Distinguished Visiting Scholar, explored why Holocaust diaries are a rich but problematic source, and what the ethical implications of using diaries — and questioning them — are.

Listen to audio of the event »

Co-Sponsored by History Department and The Henry J. Leir Chair
Lecture made possible with support from the Melvin S. Cutler Endowed Fund


For previous speakers please refer to the Event Archive, under Special Collections, in Clark University's Digital Commons.