Reflecting on a Year with CHGS

I began working with CHGS just over a year ago, a newbie to Holocaust and genocide studies. It was an intense start, landing right into the fray of final preparations and coordination of the Bearing Witness event. As you may recall, this event fell on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day last year, and was an exhibition of portraits of and recorded interviews with MN Holocaust survivors, followed by discussion with the artist, Felix de la Concha, and talk by Auschwitz survivor, Dora Zaidenweber. Following close on the heels of Bearing Witness, just a few days later, was the panel eventorganized in response to what were then the very recent attacks in Paris at the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

unnamed (1)Those events seem ages ago. I feel I’ve come a long with CHGS. I have now observed many very intensely engaged audiences, been inspired by colleagues, and am myself eager to return to and advance the conversation. I am particularly excited to revisit Fort Snelling State Park this spring for a tour of Bdote and discussion with Iyekiyapewin Darlene St. Clair on the local history and atrocities committed against the Dakota people. It seems to me that of the lessons learned from the Holocaust, coexistence, acceptance, acknowledgement, and respect are most effectively applied locally.

For this reason I am proud of the work we do at CHGS. Over the last year we have reached educators (and by extension our youngest learners), young scholars, the greater community, and partnered with units and organizations inside and outside the University to present excellent events (such as this, this, this, and this).

For Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016, we are pleased to announce a new exhibit on view at the Sabes JCC. This exhibit of displaced persons is to me timely in its connection with current affairs. We are pleased to introduce our new blog, a place for sharing scholarship, collections, reflections, and editorial perspectives. We are proud to take a critical leap in migrating our web content, making our collections findable through UMN Libraries.

I am looking ahead to a great season to come and an exciting approach of events and programming to commemorate our upcoming 20th anniversary: plans for 2016-2017 include a course on Holocaust Art by Yehudit Shendar, a talk by historian Timothy Snyder, a scholarly symposium on Comparative Genocide Studies and the Holocaust, a returned focus on exhibiting our art and object collections, a continuation of our digital collection development, a new website, and much, much more.

Jennifer Hammer began working in the Institute for Global Studies in January, 2015. She has primary responsibilities for supporting programming in the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, as well as the Center for Austrian Studies. Jennifer completed her degree at the University of Minnesota in Anthropology and Japanese, and has done graduate work in the history of design at Parsons the New School of Design. Jennifer studied in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Graz, Austria and New York City.


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