Knowledge on the Move: Information Networks During and After the Holocaust

Heike Friedman's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
September 15, 2021
Location: 
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Eastern Europe History / Studies, European History / Studies, German History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies

International Workshop at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles | APR 04, 2022 - APR 05, 2022

Conveners: Robin M Buller (GHI | PRO, UC Berkeley), Wolf Gruner (USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research), Anne-Christin Klotz (GHI | PRO, UC Berkeley) 

The Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington and the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research invite proposals for their joint workshop: “Knowledge on the Move: Information Networks During and After the Holocaust.”

The movement, production, and circulation of knowledge, ideas, and information through networks of marginalized groups and across borders and boundaries have increasingly become the focus of historical research in recent decades. At the same time, scholars have worked to integrate the perspectives of Jews and other groups victimized by the Nazi regime within Holocaust Studies in order to highlight their diverse forms of agency. For instance, the study of resistance networks, subversive knowledge exchange, and transnational commemorative efforts has fostered an understanding of the Holocaust that is grounded in broader local, regional, national, transnational, and at times overlapping contexts.

“Knowledge on the Move” aims to bring together scholars who are reconsidering the Holocaust and its aftermath through the lenses of Jewish and non-Jewish information networks, broadly conceived. In a two-day workshop, scholars will present and comment on individual pre-circulated papers. This workshop aims to prompt innovative research questions regarding the information production and knowledge circulation in Europe and beyond during and after the Nazi genocide.

We welcome diverse approaches to the workshop theme that draw from a wide variety of interdisciplinary perspectives and methods. Advanced PhD candidates and early career scholars are especially encouraged to apply.

Suggested areas of focus might include (but are not limited to): 

  • The circulation of knowledge among victims in camps, ghettos, and in hiding
  • knowledge and information access and its importance for Jewish individual and group resistance
  • The transmission of subversive information about persecution and rescue across borders
  • The role of information and knowledge production from “below” in local or regional contexts
  • The role of passports and legal knowledge in rescue and escape
  • The role of the media in the production and transmission of information concerning the Holocaust
  • The use of rumors, coded language, humor, and other covert forms of communication
  • The circulation of physical objects (letters, packages, etc.) to share information during the Holocaust 
  • The circulation of knowledge among under-represented groups, including womxn and queer information networks
  • The exchange of information between Jews and non-Jews in occupied Europe
  • The operations and impact of resistance networks
  • The role of aid networks during and after the Holocaust
  • The dissemination and reception of early Holocaust historiography
  • The role of objects in commemorative efforts and the preservation of Holocaust knowledge in the aftermath of genocide
  • Early transnational postwar commemorative efforts
  • The maintenance or breaking of “silence” among Holocaust survivors


The organizers plan to publish selected papers in a special issue of a journal.

The workshop will provide presenters with an opportunity to explore the internationally unique and growing research resources found at the University of Southern California. These include the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Collection at Doheny Memorial Library with over 30,000 primary and secondary sources; a Special Collection containing the private papers of German and Austrian Jewish emigrants from the Third Reich, including the writer Lion Feuchtwanger; and the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, a digitized and fully searchable repository of over 55,000 video testimonies of survivors and other eyewitnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. Workshop participants will be invited to participate in a scheduled optional introduction to these resources.

The German Historical Institute’s Pacific Regional Office (GHI | PRO) contributes to bringing the Pacific world into the GHI’s research agenda. It helps to broaden the scope and perspective of the GHI’s established programs in North American and transatlantic history, German and European history, and transregional and global history. 

The Pacific Regional Office aims to put an emphasis on research projects and scholarly programs that explore the interconnections of the Atlantic and Pacific worlds. At the same time, GHI | PRO takes up our institute’s long established interest in the history of migration and combines it with approaches in the history of knowledge, which has been a research focus at the GHI since 2015. GHI director Simone Lässig outlined the new concept of “migrant knowledge" in an essay (published together with Swen Steinberg 2017).

Interdisciplinary by design, the program in migrant knowledge aims to foster exchange among scholars in fields such as history, migration studies, political science, and cultural studies. It also goes beyond academia by including experts in the governmental and NGO sectors in the discussion. Please visit our blog for more information and to join the network: migrantknowledge.org.

Founded in 2014, the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research (previously USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research) is dedicated to advancing innovative interdisciplinary research on genocide and mass violence, focusing on transforming the way we understand the origins, dynamics, and consequences of mass violence, as well as the conditions and dimensions of resistance. The Center’s unique academic program, including a competitive international research fellowship program, interdisciplinary international conferences, and other events, attracts scholars at all levels, from all over the world, and from a multitude of disciplines. For more information, please visit https://sfi.usc.edu/cagr


Application Instructions

Papers will be pre-circulated to allow maximum time for discussions. The workshop language will be English. Please upload a brief CV and a proposal of no more than 300 words by September 15, 2021 to our online portal

Accommodations will be arranged and paid for by the conference organizers. Participants will make their own travel arrangements; funding subsidies for travel is available upon request for selected scholars, especially those who might not otherwise be able to attend the workshop, including junior scholars and scholars without university affiliation or from universities with inadequate resources. 

Please contact Heike Friedman (friedman@ghi-dc.org) if you have problems submitting your information online. All other questions pertaining to the workshop and application process can be directed to Anne-Christin Klotz (klotzan@zedat.fu-berlin.de) or Robin Buller (rmbuller@live.unc.edu).

Successful applicants will be notified in October 2021.

Contact Info: 

Heike Friedman 

Program Officer

Pacific Regional Office of the

German Historical Institute Washington

202 Moses Hall

University of California Berkeley, CA 94720-2316

Telefon + 1 510 643 4558

Contact Email: