Holocaust Studies: Contemporary Film
While historical research is bringing the Holocaust into ever clearer view, visual representations contribute substantially to how the general public remembers the past. This special issue of Holocaust Studies will focus on recent films (from about the year 2000) in order to ask how cinematic and other visual media reflect and contribute to current academic discussions about the Holocaust. While questions over trauma, second-generation memory, and national forms of commemoration continue to influence critical discourse, other issues are also coming into focus. In particular, the role of ethics both in the on-screen representation of atrocities and violence and in the way in which perpetrators and bystanders are evoked has become highly relevant for contemporary scholarship. Another recent development emphasizes the fact that the Holocaust occurred beyond such metonymic locations as Auschwitz or Treblinka, concentrating instead on the mass shootings of the Einsatzgruppen or the spatial dimension of the death marches. Film criticism in particular has turned to questions over the involvement of cinema in the Holocaust, for instance through propaganda films and the abuse of documentary film making.
Possible contributions to this special issue will address these and related issues. The range of films to be discussed could include feature films such as Run Boy Run (2013) about the Warsaw ghetto, In Darkness (2011) and Closed Season (2013) about acts of resistance and solidarity, and Son of Saul (2015) about responsibility and the ethics of the gaze, but also non-fiction material like the docudrama No Place on Earth (2012) about survival in hiding and documentaries like Night Will Fall (2014) about early post-war attempts at teaching about the Holocaust, The Last Days (1998) about suffering and returning, and Hitler’s Children (2011) about perpetrators and the second generation.
Apart from analyzing key films in detail, contributors are also invited to develop critical concepts, to discuss generic or aesthetic developments, or to reflect on the impact of Holocaust films on other forms of commemoration.
Abstracts of about 400 words are due by 15 January 2017.
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