CFA: USHMM Faculty Seminar: Pedagogical Approaches to Material Culture and the Holocaust (Deadline Oct 15, 2022)

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The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum announces the call for applications for the 2023 Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar from January 3 to 6, 2023, on the topic of “Pedagogical Approaches to Material Culture and the Holocaust.” This Seminar explores the debates surrounding the collection, conservation, preservation, and display of Holocaust material objects. Such artifacts have afterlives that raise a range of ethical, moral, and practical questions. Whose items should be preserved? Those of both perpetrators and victims? Who decides what should be preserved? Does that impact how this history is remembered? Where should they be preserved? In public institutions or private collections? Does that effect who has access to the original objects? How might such objects aid our understanding of the Holocaust (in isolation, in conjunction with, or over and above other sources)? And what other materials are needed for their robust interpretation? Drawing on the vast resources of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this Seminar will offer participants the opportunity to examine material objects, learn about their provenance, and gain insights into some of the current research that is being conducted to reproduce them using 3-D scanners, printers, and other cutting-edge technologies. Seminar leaders will also devote time to the introduction of pedagogical approaches and creative methods for bringing this important aspect of the Holocaust into the undergraduate college classroom. The Seminar will include resources on other genocides as well, and discuss the particular ethical and intellectual issues raised by the material remains of extreme violence.

The Hess Faculty Seminar is designed to help faculty, instructors, and advanced PhD candidates who are currently teaching or preparing to teach courses that focus on or have a curricular component relating to the Holocaust, internment, genocide, trauma, material culture, and/or the collection, preservation, and memorialization of artifacts. Applications are welcome from instructors across academic disciplines including but not limited to: Anthropology; Archeology; Art; Conservation Studies; Disability Studies; Gender and Women’s Studies; German Studies; History; Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Jewish Studies; Law and Human Rights; Material Culture Studies; Museum Studies; Philosophy; Political Science and International Relations; Psychology; Sociology; and Theology and Religious Studies. The seminar aims to deepen, broaden, and enrich how we approach teaching the Holocaust and material culture across these diverse disciplines and fields.

Applications must be received in electronic form no later than October 15, 2022. This Seminar will take place from January 3-6, 2023 at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the David and Fela Shapell Family Collections, Conservation, and Research Center in Bowie, Maryland. Seminar applicants must be teaching or anticipate teaching relevant courses at accredited institutions in North America. The full CfA and the application form are available on the USHMM website:  Please contact Dr. Katharine White ( with any questions.

Seminar Facilitators:

Leora Auslander, Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor in Western Civilization and Associate Chair and Professor in the Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity, University of Chicago

Caroline Sturdy Colls, Professor of Conflict Archaeology and Genocide Investigation and Director of the Centre of Archaeology, Staffordshire University

This Seminar is endowed by Edward and David Hess in memory of their parents, Jack and Anita Hess, who believed passionately in the power of education to overcome racial and religious prejudice.