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< Curt C. and Else Silberman Faculty Seminar

2022 Curt C. and Else Silberman Faculty Seminar


Jewish police escort a group of Jews who have been rounded-up for deportation in the Lodz ghetto. —USHMM Archives courtesy of Jehuda Widawski

Teaching Holocaust Photographs

May 31–June 10, 2022

The 2022 Silberman Seminar explores the category of Holocaust photography, looking at how and why these images were originally created, and how Holocaust photographs have been used in scholarship, teaching, and the public domain. Drawing on multidisciplinary methods and new work in the field of Holocaust studies as well as classic texts on photography, the Seminar will explore methods for identifying, interpreting, and contextualizing Holocaust photos by victims, perpetrators, and witnesses. Particular emphasis will be placed on the ethical considerations surrounding whether “to show” or “not to show” Holocaust photographs in and beyond the college classroom, especially when so many of them were taken by perpetrators. The facilitators will also open a dialogue about post-Holocaust personal photos of remembrance, historical photos that have been appropriated/altered, and artistic representations that engage with photographs of the Holocaust.

The 2022 Silberman Seminar is designed to help faculty, instructors, and advanced PhD candidates who are currently teaching or preparing to teach courses that focus on or have a curricular component relating to the Holocaust, visual culture, and/or photography. Applications are welcome from instructors across academic disciplines including but not limited to: Anthropology and Sociology; Ethnic Studies; Gender Studies and Women’s Studies; German Studies; Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Jewish Studies; Photography; Political Science; Psychology; Visual and Material Culture Studies; and Religious Studies. Over the course of the Seminar, participants will be introduced to sources in the Museum’s photography collections, as well as oral history, testimony, recorded sound, and material culture collections. Participants will also develop familiarity with USHMM digital teaching tools.

 Seminar Facilitators

Valerie Hébert, Associate Professor of History and Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead University Orillia, Ontario

Valerie Hébert is Associate Professor of History and Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead University Orillia in Ontario where she teaches on modern European history, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust, and the photography of human rights violations and international conflict. Professor Hébert has won fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Hebrew University, and the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She has published on the Nuremberg Trials, Rwanda’s Gacaca Tribunals, and the German resistance figure Kurt Gerstein. Professor Hébert  has led international and interdisciplinary workshops on Holocaust and atrocity photography at the USHMM (2017) and the Lessons and Legacies Conference on Holocaust Studies (2018). Recent publications and submissions include “Photographs” in Understanding and Teaching the Holocaust, edited by Laura Hilton and Avinoam Patt (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2020); "Perpetrator Depictions of Violence and the Obliteration of Evidence" in Cambridge History of the Holocaust, vol II: Perpetrating the Holocaust: Policies, Participants, Places, edited by Juergen Matthaeus and Mary Fulbrook (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press); and Framing the Holocaust: Photographs of a Mass Shooting in Latvia, 1941, which she also edited (under review with University of Wisconsin Press). In 2020, Professor Hébert  was awarded a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant for the monograph project, Five Shots from Sdolbunow: Photographs of the Holocaust by Bullets, 1942. 

Daniel H. Magilow, Professor of German, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Daniel H. Magilow is Professor of German in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Mandel Center’s journal, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. He was the Pearl Resnick Postdoctoral Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005-2006 and currently serves on the Academic Council of the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University. Professor Magilow’s research focuses on photography and film and their intersections with Holocaust Studies, Weimar Germany, and postwar memory. He is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of six books, including the Holocaust memoirs In Her Father's Eyes: A Childhood Extinguished by the Holocaust and It Will Yet Be Heard: A Polish Rabbi's Witness of the Shoah and Survival as well as The Photography of Crisis: The Photo Essays of Weimar Germany.  Professor Magilow most recently co-authored the second edition of Holocaust Representations in History: An Introduction (co-authored with Lisa Silverman). His edition of the collected works of the interwar German photographer Albert Renger-Patzsch is forthcoming with Getty Publications in Fall 2022.

Seminar Format

The Seminar will occur entirely online through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions over the course of two weeks. Participants can expect to attend no more than four hours of synchronous sessions in the virtual classroom per day. Additional daily asynchronous activities will include independent readings, pre-recorded lectures, and syllabus design work in small groups. All assigned readings and course materials will be made available to participants in advance of the program through the Seminar’s digital platform.

Application Details

Seminar applicants can be at any career stage but must be teaching or anticipate teaching relevant courses at accredited institutions in North America, including colleges, universities, and community colleges. Applications must include: (1) curriculum vitae; (2) a 1-2 page statement of the candidate’s interest in strengthening their background in Holocaust Studies, visual culture, and/or photography for the purpose of teaching; (3) a letter of support from a dissertation advisor, department chair, or dean addressing the candidate’s qualifications and the institution’s commitment to Holocaust-related education; and (4) a draft syllabus with content relating to the seminar topic that the candidate has taught or anticipates teaching.

The Seminar aims to convene scholars from various career levels, disciplines, regional locations, academic institutions, and backgrounds. In your statement of interest, please specifically address:

  • How the Seminar will augment or impact the course(s) you anticipate teaching;
  • How the Seminar would help to meet your institution's needs and/or expand your institution’s curricular offerings;
  • How your own perspective, experiences, and/or disciplinary approach will enhance the Seminar discussions.

Participants must commit to attending the entire Seminar. After the conclusion of the Seminar, participants are expected to submit a preliminary version of a revised syllabus. The Seminar will include designated working sessions for participants to revise and expand their syllabi content. Participants who complete all components of the Seminar will be provided with a $500 honorarium.

Applications must be received in electronic form no later than March 15, 2022. The application form is available online. Letters of support may be uploaded electronically or sent directly to Madi Howard,

Apply Now

Admission will be determined without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender (sexual orientation or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or reprisal. The Museum also prohibits any form of workplace discrimination or harassment.

The Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation endowed the Silberman Seminar for University Faculty in memory of Curt C. and Else Silberman.  The Foundation supports programs in higher education that promote, protect, and strengthen Jewish values in democracy, human rights, ethical leadership, and cultural pluralism.