Dartmouth / CTA Summer Conference — A Redemptive History of the Holocaust?

With Historian, Professor MICHAEL GEYER
Dartmouth College / Critical Theory and the Arts
Summer Conference, 2018

The Holocaust is necessarily presented in whatever words there are that surpass the by comparison homely idea of carnage, as a moment of civilizational collapse from which one has every reason to wonder whether, in its aftermath, it makes any sense ever again to speak of something on the order of “civilization.”

But all the same, ​is it ​not only possible but necessary and a responsibility to the past to present the lives that were drawn into this annihilating vortex in their reality and substance, as lives that were not only obliterated but also lived? Can this be done without—however involuntarily—transfiguring the unspeakable as the merely spoken?

What we know of Mirjam Theiner, for instance—to take one name from millions of names—is that, imprisoned along with her husband in Auschwitz she was one day seen, the last day she was ever seen, “running into the electric fence” that surrounded the camp. But what else is there to say of Mirjam Theiner?
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For more than a decade, the distinguished historian Michael Geyer, Professor Emeritus of German and European History, University of Chicago, has been writing about the Theiner family, Mirjam and Hugo Theiner and their progeny—one of whom was Michael’s wife, Miriam Hansen—and the question of the representation of the Holocaust and the German culture of memory.
To discuss his project and the questions that frame it, Michael Geyer ​will join the faculty of Critical Theory and the Arts, along with Robert Hullot-Kentor, the department chair; Barbara Will, A. and R. Newbury Professor of English and Associate Dean of the Arts and Humanities, Dartmouth College; Marion Oliner, psychoanalyst and author; Asli Iğsız, Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University; and Jeremy Cohan, sociologist and labor historian​.

The Dartmouth College / Critical Theory and the Arts Summer Conference is generously supported each summer at the School of Visual Arts by the Office of the Dean, Dartmouth College.

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