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Event #1232

Genocide in the 21st Century: The Failures and Promises of Digital Trauma Culture (Keynote Address)


Sunday, June 2, 2019

13:30 - 15:00
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West Mall Swing Space Building - SWNG 122
Association events
English | anglais

With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ International Keynote Speakers Support Fund

An analysis of Holocaust-related content matter distributed via video games, social media sites, file sharing platforms, and brick-and-mortar memory institutions reveals serious problems. Significant apprehension about immersive simulations of Holocaust history and pervasive patterns of censorship are tipping the scales of remediation towards time-tested aesthetic strategies of Holocaust interpretation. As a result, contemporary digital Holocaust memory sidesteps emergent, participatory, and multi-directional forms of communicative memory, favoring instead the monotone broadcasting of cosmopolitan political values within carefully controlled cultural settings. Official Holocaust memory runs the risk of losing political relevance and failing to take advantage of self-reflexive memory opportunities inherent in virtual reality and serious gaming technologies. In this regard, Holocaust memory can learn a great deal from the use of immersive and fully interactive digital technologies used, for example, for the experience and remembrance of Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal suffering in Canada and Australia.

Wulf Kansteiner is Professor of History at Aarhus University, Denmark. A cultural and intellectual historian of twentieth-century Europe, Kansteiner has published widely in the fields of media history, memory studies, historical theory, and Holocaust studies. He is the author of In Pursuit of German Memory: History, Television, and Politics after Auschwitz (2006) and coeditor of The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe (2006), Historical Representation and Historical Truth (2009), Den Holocaust erzählen: Historiographie zwischen wissenschaftlicher Empirie und narrative Kreativität (2013), and Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture (2016)He is also co-editor of the journal Memory Studies.

Chair: Stephan Jaeger, University of Manitoba.

Joint Session of Canadian Association of University Teachers of German (CAUTG) and Canadian Comparative Literature Association (CCLA).

Financial support for this session was provided by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • Wulf Kansteiner, Professor of History, Aarhus University