After Evil: the Ethical Dynamics of Addressing the Past
June 18–22, 2018
Applications must be submitted by March 16, 2018
The Program on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is pleased to announce its annual seminar for faculty from all disciplines. Professors of theology, ethics, and religion at theological schools and other institutions of advanced education are particularly invited to apply. The seminar is scheduled for June 18-22, 2018.
Since 1945 several hundred statements addressing the moral and ethical issues related to the Holocaust have been issued by national and religious leaders, institutions and corporations. These statements vary widely in language and intent: some express guilt and apology, others can be read as justifications and self-defense, and others are cautiously linked to official commitments to reparations and other international agreements. Over the decades, the content and nature of such statements changed, driven by new historical scholarship, different political contexts, and changed public consciousness about broader issues of prejudice and hatred.
The history of these statements—and how the ethical discourse about the Holocaust has changed over the decades—is a provocative case study that offers insight into the complexity of addressing other instances of mass atrocity and genocide. This seminar will explore these issues by examining key statements of guilt and repentance and interrogating their impact on similar attempts to address other pasts. Special attention will be paid to how the emerging “moral memory” about the Holocaust shaped and intersected with understandings of other historical events (such as slavery) and how it has informed the growing body of scholarship about contemporary genocide.
The seminar will be co-led by Katharina von Kellenbach and Victoria Barnett. Katharina von Kellenbach is professor of religious studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Her areas of expertise include Holocaust Studies, Jewish-Christian relations, feminist theology, and interreligious dialogue. Her publications include Anti‑Judaism in Feminist Religious Writings (Oxford University Press, 1994) and The Mark of Cain: Guilt and Denial in the Lives of Nazi Perpetrators (Oxford University Press, 2013). She co-leads an interdisciplinary research group on Felix Culpa: Guilt as Culturally Productive Force at the ZIF (Center for Interdisciplinary Research) Bielefeld University, Germany. Victoria Barnett directs the Museum’s Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust. She was one of the general editors of the multivolume Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition, the translation of the complete writings of Bonhoeffer published by Fortress Press. She is the author of “After Ten Years": Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Our Times (2017); Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity during the Holocaust (1999), and For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest against Hitler (1992).
Participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about Museum resources for their teaching and to consult and interact with Museum staff and visiting scholars. More information about the Museum’s programs on the historical role of religion during the Holocaust and the ways in which religious institutions, leaders, and theologians have addressed this history and its legacy since 1945 can be found at Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust.
Candidates must be faculty members at accredited, degree-awarding institutions in North America. Applications must include: (1) a curriculum vitae; (2) a statement of the candidate’s specific interest and purpose for attending the seminar; and (3) a supporting letter from a departmental chair or dean addressing the candidate’s qualifications and the institution’s potential interest in having Holocaust-related courses taught.
Admission will be decided without regard to age, gender, race, creed, or national origin. For non-local participants, the Mandel Center will (1) reimburse the cost of direct travel to and from the participant’s home institution and Washington, DC, up to but not exceeding the amount of $600; and (2) cover the cost of lodging for the duration of the course. Incidental, meal, and book expenses must be covered by the candidates or their respective institutions. All participants must attend the entire seminar.
Applications must be submitted per email no later than March 16, 2018, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “PERH Seminar” in the subject line. For questions, please contact Dr. Barnett at 202.488.0469 or email@example.com. All applicants will be notified of the results of the selection process by Monday, April 16, 2018.
This seminar is made possible by the Hoffberger Family Fund and by Joseph A. and Janeal Cannon and Family.