USHMM CfA: 2018 Curt C. and Else Silberman Seminar for Faculty

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Racial Practice: Theory, Policy, and Execution in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South

June 4-15, 2018

Applications due March 30, 2018

The first half of the twentieth century witnessed the rise of a new “science” of eugenics, which became an international movement that legitimized and ultimately unleashed extremely violent, and indeed genocidal, racism. Racism, including racial antisemitism, was a core element of Nazi ideology and a driving force behind the Holocaust. Racism also legitimized the continued subjugation and persecution of African Americans long after the end of slavery. Although different in many ways, the history of racism in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South during the 1930s and early 1940s sheds light on universal phenomena as well as historically specific events and experiences.

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies announces the 2018 Curt C. and Else Silberman Seminar for Faculty on racism in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South. This year’s Seminar will analyze the similarities, differences, and gray zones of racial theory and practice in Germany and the United States in the first half of the 20th century, paying special attention to how these practices sharply diverged as Nazi antisemitic policies turned into widespread, state sanctioned murder and genocide in the 1940s. Looking at canonical scholarship on antisemitism and racism in both locales, as well as more recent works on how Jews and African Americans understood the others’ persecution, participants will learn how to respectfully, rigorously, and accurately represent these victims in Holocaust-related courses across disciplines.

Through lectures, readings, and primary source examination, participants will be introduced to ways of situating racial antisemitism in Nazi Germany and racism in the United States into larger historical contexts of the period.

The 2018 Curt C. and Else Silberman Seminar for college and university faculty is designed to help faculty who are teaching, or preparing to teach, Holocaust or Holocaust-related courses in all academic disciplines. While the focus will be on the specific cases of targeted oppression and racial violence in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South, the themes, approaches, and methods covered in the Seminar are also applicable for the broad range of educators who engage the perspectives of victims and survivors in other geographic regions and/or time periods.

Seminar participants will be introduced to Holocaust-related sources in the Museum’s unique film, oral history, testimony, recorded sound, archival, and photography collections, and the International Tracing Service Digital Archive. They will also meet staff scholars with expertise in various Holocaust-related topics with whom they can discuss their work.

In addition to lecture and discussion, the Seminar will devote time to specific pedagogical strategies used by the three Seminar leaders and participants to examine these victim groups in the classroom.

The Seminar will be held at the United States Holocaust Museum from June 4-15, 2018. It will be led by Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at USC, Evelynn Hammonds, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science, Professor of African and African American Studies Chair, and Department of the History of Science at Harvard University, and Clarence Walker, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of African American History at UC Davis.

Seminar applicants must be teaching at accredited, baccalaureate-awarding institutions in North America. Applications must include: (1) a curriculum vitae; (2) a statement of the candidate’s specific interest and needs in strengthening his/her background in Holocaust studies for the purpose of improving teaching; and (3) a supporting letter from a departmental chair or dean addressing the candidate’s qualifications and the institution’s commitment to Holocaust-related education. Syllabi of any Holocaust-related courses that the candidate has taught or is planning to teach should also be included. Syllabi will be distributed at the Seminar to facilitate discussion of successful teaching strategies.

Admission will be decided without regard to the age, gender, race, creed, or national origin of the candidate. For non-local participants, the Mandel Center will defray the cost of (1) direct travel to and from the participant’s home institution and Washington, DC, and (2) lodging for the duration of the Seminar. Incidentals, meals, and book expenses must be defrayed by the candidates or their respective institutions. All participants must attend the entire Seminar.

Applications must be postmarked or received in electronic form no later than Friday, March 30, 2018, and sent to:

University Programs
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2150                                            
Fax: (202) 479-9726

For questions, contact Dr. Kierra Crago-Schneider at 202-314-1779 or

The Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation endowed the Silberman Seminar for University Faculty in memory of Curt C. and Else Silberman.  The Foundation supports programs in higher education that promote, protect, and strengthen Jewish values in democracy, human rights, ethical leadership, and cultural pluralism.