USHMM CfA: 2017 Curt C. and Else Silberman Faculty Seminar

Madison Howard's picture
March 24, 2017
District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: 
Digital Humanities, German History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Human Rights, Jewish History / Studies


June 5–16, 2017
Applications due March 24, 2017

The Mandel Center announces the 2017 Curt C. and Else Silberman Seminar for Faculty. This year’s seminar will explore how Digital Humanities offers new opportunities for students and faculty to teach and learn about the Holocaust and its representation. Digital Humanities integrates digital tools into the work of analyzing and representing this past. Mapping, data visualization, and text analysis invite new modes of thinking about the experiences of Jews during the Final Solution as well as the way survivors have remembered and commemorated this past over the course of the last 75 years. At the same time, the intersection of Holocaust studies and online tools raises issues of contemporary concern: How is knowledge about the Holocaust transmitted to audiences around the world?

This seminar will introduce participants to a range of digital tools that can be used in the college and university classroom, including, Storymaps, Voyant, and BatchGeo as well as resources held in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s extensive Holocaust archives. Participants will work with the Seminar leaders to create assignments and to work through exercises that can be adapted directly into course material. They will also discuss strategies for balancing Holocaust content with digital experimentation. The Seminar will examine how a critical approach to online tools can lead to better representation and teaching of Holocaust memory and history in an age of social media and alternative facts. No previous experience with Digital Humanities is necessary: Only an interest in digital tools and a willingness to learn.

Seminar participants will gain experience working with digital tools and assemble a variety of sources (in English) that can be used in different types of undergraduate courses. Bringing these tools into the classroom helps students reimagine this history and enables them to engage directly with primary sources, inviting them to participate in the interpretive work of Holocaust scholars. When they are challenged to represent space during the Holocaust, they grapple with the tension between the global and individual scale of destruction. When they are invited to create a small digital archive, they recognize the choices made in building collections. Finally, students confront the wonders and pitfalls of exploring history through witness accounts when they analyze survivor testimony.

The seminar will be led by Rachel Deblinger, Director, Digital Scholarship Commons at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Paul Jaskot, Professor in the History of Art & Architecture Department as well as Director of Studio CHI (Computing/Humanities Interface) at DePaul University. Rachel Deblinger’s work explores how American Jews first learned about the Holocaust through communal fundraising and advocacy campaigns in the postwar period. Her online exhibit, Memories/Motifs, combines history and digital holdings, such as radio and video, to consider how survivors’ stories were first heard in postwar America. Paul Jaskot is an accomplished author whose works include, The Nazi Perpetrator: Postwar German Art and the Politics of the Right (2012), which examines how the idea of Nazi criminals held by artists in postwar Germany affected the art they produced. Both scholars are working to develop digital tools to allow scholars to bring Holocaust resources into the university classroom.

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 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 age, gender, race, creed, or national origin. A maximum of 20 applicants will be accepted. 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. Incidental, meal, and book expenses must be defrayed by the candidates or their respective institutions. All participants must attend the entire Seminar from June 5 to 16, 2017.


Applications must be postmarked or received in electronic form no later than Friday, March 24, 2016, 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 Successful applicants will be notified of the results of the selection process by mid-April of 2017.


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.

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