2007–08 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow Dr. Ferzina Banaji
Ferzina Banaji earned a Ph.D. in French from New Hall College, University of Cambridge, and a Master of Philosophy in European literature from the same university. During her fellowship at the Museum, she was the Alice Tong Sze Junior Research Fellow in Film Studies and French at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, as well as a temporary lecturer at the University of Nottingham. For her Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship for Archival Research, Dr. Banaji conducted research for her project “Re-Viewing the Holocaust: Cinema and Genocide.”
Dr. Banaji was awaiting the publication of two articles at the time of her fellowship: “From génocide to le Shoah: Changing Patterns in Documentary Representations of the Holocaust in France,” in Nationality and the Holocaust (ed. by J. Taylor, University of Delaware Press); and “Rethinking Memory: The Violation of a lieu de mémoire in Marcel Ophuls’s Le Chagrin et la pitié,” in Anamnesia: Private and Public Memory in Modern French Culture (Peter Lang Publishers). She is also the author of “Alain Resnais’s Nuit et Brouillard: Memory, Time and Distance,” in Transmissions: Essays in French Literature, Thought and Cinema (ed. by I. McNeill and B. Stephens, Series: Modern French Identities, vol. 51, Peter Lang Publishers, 2007). Dr. Banaji has presented numerous conference papers, including “Explosive Truths: French Identity and Race in Matthieu Kassovitz’s La Haine” (which during her tenure was forthcoming in the Australian Journal of French Studies), and “Ethical Images: A Levinasian Reading of Alain Resnais’s Nuit et Brouillard.” She has lectured on French cinema and contemporary French literature and philosophy at Cambridge and Nottingham and is the recipient of the Odette de Mourgues Bursary Award, the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Bursary, and a British Academy Conference Grant. She is a founder and organizer of the Lucy Cavendish College Film Society.
During her tenure at the Center, Dr. Banaji expanded on her dissertation project, which focused on representations of the Holocaust in documentary film. She examined Holocaust films through film theory, the aesthetics of war, and the specifics of genocide. She incorporated a larger body of films into her research in order to develop a new and ethical understanding of the films’ cinematic imagery and their effect on spectators and cultural memory. Among other sources, Dr. Banaji used the Museum’s archival holdings on survivor testimonies as well as the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive.