"The Era of Witness?: Individual, Collected, and Collective Memory of the Holocaust in Serbia after 1989"
Jovan Byford is Lecturer in psychology at The Open University (United Kingdom). He received a Ph.D. in social sciences from Loughborough University and an M.Sc. in social and applied psychology from the University of Kent, both in the United Kingdom. For his Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship, Dr. Byford conducted research for his project, “The Era of Witness?: Individual, Collected, and Collective Memory of the Holocaust in Serbia after 1989.”
Dr. Byford is the author of three books: Conspiracy Theories: A Critical Introduction (in press), Denial and Repression of Antisemitism: Post-Communist Remembrance of the Serbian Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović (2008), and Teorija Zevere: Srbija protv ‘novog svetskog poretka’ [Conspiracy Theory: Serbia vs. the New World Order] (2006). With a few forthcoming book chapters, Dr. Byford has already published numerous scholarly articles, including, “‘Shortly afterwards, We Heard the Sound of the Gas Van’: Survivor Testimony and the Writing of History in Socialist Yugoslavia” in History and Memory (2010), “When I Say ‘the Holocaust’, I Mean ‘Jasenovac’: Remembrance of the Holocaust in Contemporary Serbia” in East European Jewish Affairs 37 (2007) and “‘Serbs Never Hated the Jews’: The Denial of Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Serbian Orthodox Christian Culture” in Patterns of Prejudice 40 (2006). Dr. Byford also has presented his research at various conferences in countries around the world, including the United States, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, England, and Germany. A native speaker of Serbian, Dr. Byford is also fluent in English.
During his tenure at the Center, Dr. Byford conducted research on testimonies of Yugoslav survivors of the Holocaust. He explored the institutional, ideological and cultural context of the production, collection, dissemination and reception of testimonies collected after 1989 (during the turbulent times of post-communist transition and the dissolution of Yugoslavia). Through examining survivor testimonies, Dr. Byford investigated more general questions concerning the social and historical contingency of testimony and the complex relationship between – and mutual interdependence of – individual, collected, and collective memory. To complete his research, Dr. Byford primarily utilized oral history testimonies in the Museum’s collections, including those from the USC Shoah Foundation. He also used the Museum’s extensive archival collections, including Records of the Jasenovac Camp Memorial Area, Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia during the Interwar and Postwar Periods, Selected Records from the Eventov Archives of the Association of Immigrants from the Former Yugoslavia in Israel, and Selected Records from the Archives of the Jewish Historical Museum, Belgrade.
Dr. Byford was in residence at the Mandel Center from January 1 to March 30, 2011.