Apply for the 2020 Lessons and Legacies Conference

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Call for Papers

Lessons and Legacies Conference on the Holocaust XVI

The Holocaust: Rethinking Paradigms in Research and Representation

7-10 November 2020 (Saturday-Tuesday)

Ottawa, Canada

Carleton University and University of Ottawa

The Sixteenth Biennial Lessons and Legacies Conference, sponsored by the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University, and hosted by Carleton University and the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada, invites scholars to submit proposals for papers, panels, posters, workshops, and seminars. Proposals should relate to recent issues and advances in Holocaust scholarship and pedagogy and conform broadly to the conference theme, “The Holocaust: Rethinking Paradigms in Research and Representation.” We welcome submissions that utilize various methodologies and perspectives. Proposals from disciplines in addition to history are strongly encouraged.

What does it mean to develop conceptual paradigms relating to the Holocaust? From its etymological roots, “paradigm” denotes patterns, models, precedents, and examples. How might existing paradigms for understanding, representing, and teaching about the Holocaust benefit from re-examination and reformulation in light of new sources, interpretive methods, and interdisciplinary approaches and conversations? To what extent can debates in the study of the Holocaust pertaining (but not limited) to modernity, colonialism, antisemitism, racial and gender discrimination, and sexual violence, as well as conceptions of trauma, memory, testimony, and representation, connect the Holocaust to discussions of nationalism, imperialism, and mass atrocity  more broadly? In what ways can experiences of the Holocaust constructively be invoked to call attention to human rights crises? What are the limits and perils of invoking such experiences? This conference aims to deepen our understanding of the Holocaust by recognizing that the uniqueness and specificities of the Holocaust should neither prohibit nor be lost in the process of drawing historical analogies. Holding the conference in Canada also offers an opportunity to think anew about specific lessons of the Holocaust for criminal acts against indigenous populations.

Submission Deadline: 1 December 2019

Conference sessions include several formats, as outlined below. Submissions should clearly indicate one of these formats.

Conference Panels will consist of three to four papers and a moderator. Conference chairs will consider individual proposals and organize them as panels. Paper proposals should include a title and abstract (up to 300 words) and a 1-2 page CV. Proposals for full panels should additionally include a panel title and brief description of the full session (up to 300 words).

Posters should communicate research questions, findings, and importance, each succinctly using text and graphics on a single 2’x 4’ poster. Poster proposals should include title and abstract (up to 300 words) and a 1-2 page CV. Poster sessions are an opportunity for advanced graduate students to present and receive feedback on their research.

Workshops consisting of one or two presenters should focus on particular questions, approaches or sources. Workshops are intended to be interactive and practical, highlighting (for example) a new pedagogical approach or research question or method; curricular innovations; or creative ways to examine and interpret artifacts or texts both in research and the classroom. Conference organizers will prioritize proposals centered on participation and discussion.

Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars at various career levels for three meetings over the course of the conference, for sustained discussion of a question or problem. Participants will access a common syllabus of readings and position papers BEFORE the conference. Only those registered for the seminar will have access to the papers; online access will be removed immediately after the conference. If you are interested in proposing a seminar, submit an abstract (up to 350 words) that describes a compelling case for the why this particular issue should be explored. Once a seminar is accepted, conference attendees may apply to the seminar as presenters (9-12 papers accepted). Participants will be determined by the seminar organizer in consultation with a conference co-chair. Seminar papers must be available to post by 1 September 2020.

To the extent possible, financial assistance for conference presenters will be provided. Priority is given to graduate students, faculty at teaching-oriented colleges not offering research support, and foreign scholars with unusually high travel costs. Instructions for funding applications will be posted once the conference program is finalized.

Co-chairs of the academic program: Professor Jennifer Evans (Carleton University) and Professor Noah Shenker (Monash University)

Workshop and poster coordinator: Professor Gary Weissman (University of Cincinnati)

Co-hosts: Professor Jennifer Evans (Carleton University) and Professor Jan Grabowski (University of Ottawa)

All proposals should be submitted online using the Lessons and Legacies Proposal Submission Form. Questions should be directed to

Applicants will be informed in February 2020 regarding inclusion in the conference program.