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Norwalk Community College Academic Festival  April 

Theme: “Postmemory: Hidden Trauma, Healing Narratives.” Open to the public, the daylong event was the College’s 22nd festival celebrating academic achievement and the arts and sciences. Keynote speaker Marianne Hirsch, Ph.D. said that “postmemory” refers to the experience that the generation after bears to the personal, collective and cultural trauma of those who came before them. “To grow up with overwhelming inherited memories, to be dominated by narratives that preceded one’s birth or one’s consciousness, is to risk having one’s own life stories displaced, even evacuated, by our ancestors” (Marianne Hirsch).

Book Launch  

The Center for the Study of Social Difference working group Women Mobilizing Memory will be celebrating the recent publication of their eponymous book Women Mobilizing Memory. The panel discussion will be followed by a reception.

Marianne Hirsch and feminisms in Chile: "They are women who are mobilizing memories of liberation"

Observatorio Género y Equidad, June 2018


“Women Mobilizing Memory,” Third Annual Conference, Memory Studies Association, Madrid, Spain, June 2019.

“School Photos in Troubled Times,” Andrés Bello Central Archive, Santiago, Chile, June 2018.

“Speculative Reading,” Conference in Honor of Robert Scholes, Brown University, May 2017.

“Archives of Possibility,” Keynote, Conference on “Archives Make History,” Pembroke Center, Brown University, March, 2017.

“Memory, Art and Action,” Radbout University, Nijmegen, Netherlands, May 2017.

“Memory’s Tenses: From Past Present to Future Perfect,” Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin, Germany, May 2017.

“School Photos in Holocaust Europe” (With Leo Spitzer), Keynote, Conference on The Afterlife of the Shoah in East Central Europe, Hamburg University, June 2017.

“Memory and Counter-Memory for the Future,” Invited Lecture by U.S. State Department and Memorial, Moscow, Russia, June 2017.

“Stateless Memory,” Keynote, Marie Jahoda Summer School on “Exile and Memory,” University of Vienna, September 2017.

Keynote, Second Annual Conference, Memory Studies Association, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 2017.

“Entanglements and Aftermaths: Reflections on Memory and Political Time,” Critical Theory Consortium, Witswatersrand Institute for Social and Economic Research, Johannesburg, South Africa, February 2018.

“Forty Days and More: Connective Histories,” Lecture for Opening of Art Exhibit on Non-Linear Histories, ReflectSpace Gallery, Glendale, CA, March 2017.


Mobilizing Memory for Action 15-20 September 2014 | Istanbul, Turkey

Building on the 2013 meeting in Santiago, “Women Creating Change: Mobilizing Memory for Action” explores the politics of memory in the aftermath of the atrocities of the twentieth century in comparative global perspective from the unique perspective of social difference. Focusing on the shaping role of gender in the structures of war, militarism and political violence, the working group analyzes the strategies by which women artists, scholars and activists have succeeded in mobilizing the memory of gender-based violence to promote redress, social justice, and a democratic future. Looking specifically at gendered memory politics in Turkey, and its Kurdish and Armenian communities, the group will analyze these in a broader comparative context.

At the same time, it will probe the limits of comparative and connective approaches to memory politics. It will also look closely at the political efficacy of various media of memory, ranging from visual art, literature, journalism and performance to museums, memorials, and street actions. What role do these various media play in combatting the erasure of past violence from current memory and in creating new visions and new histories for future generations? The collaborations among the participants in the working group aim to create a space of solidarity and connection and lay the groundwork for a more hopeful future.

The meeting will consist of an art exhibit and artist talks on “Witnessing” at DEPO Gallery in Istanbul; two theater performances and post-performance discussions; documentary film showings and discussions; and a series of working group and public roundtables over five days on memory, media, gender and activism.

The Istanbul workshop is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Social Difference; The Blinken European Institute; the Columbia Global Center | Turkey, Istanbul, Turkey; the DEPO Gallery, Istanbul; the Truth Justice Memory Center, Istanbul; the Frederich Ebert Foundation; and the Gender Forum at Sabanci University.


“Mobile Memories,” Keynote, Mnemonics: Network for Memory Studies, Stockholm University, August 21-23, 2014.

“1916 Home 2016,” Irish Memory Studies Network, University College Dublin, October 2016.

Dr. Jan Randa Visiting Scholar, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 2016.

Burt Sachs Memorial Lecture, SUNY Purchase, February 2016.

Berger Lecture, Colby College, Waterville, ME, February 2016.

“Towards an Archive of Freedom,” Keynote, Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town, October 2015.

“School Photos and Their Afterlives: Assimilation, Exclusion, Resistance,” Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), South Africa, May/June 2014.


“School Photos and Their Afterlives: A Comparative Jewish Perspective” 2014 Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies | University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Lecture 1: “School Photos in the Era of Assimilation: Jews, Indians, and Blacks,” 31 March 2014, 7:30 p.m., Kane Hall Room 220

Lecture 2: “Framing Children: The Holocaust and After”
2 April 2014, 7:30 p.m., Kane Hall Room 220

Photographs of school classes appear very early in the history of photography and are pervasive in individual and family albums throughout the world. This year’s Stroum Lectures examine the historical, memorial, and aesthetic dimensions of school photographs from a comparative Jewish perspective. The lectures explore photography’s ideological role from the 19th century through World War II, a span of decades wherein the political climate for Jews shifted from emancipation and integration to exclusion, persecution, and genocide. Reflecting on the afterlives of these images in memorial and artistic installations, the talks also suggest that school photographs can represent the possibility of resistance and subversion—even during the most challenging time in the Jewish people’s history. The first lecture, focusing on class images from the 19th and early 20th century, examines practices of assimilation that are revealed in photographs from educational establishments intended for the “civilization” of indigenous and African American children in North America and from schools attended by Jewish children in Habsburg-ruled Central Europe. The second lecture looks at the process of exclusion of Jews in 20th-century Central Europe by way of school pictures taken in the 1920′s and ’30s, as well as in sanctioned and clandestine schools – some, in ghettos and camps – in the years of the Holocaust.

This year’s Stroum Lecturers are Dr. Marianne Hirsch, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and Dr. Leo Spitzer, the Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of History at Dartmouth College. Among numerous publications on the Holocaust and Jewish culture, they have co-authored Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory (University of California Press, 2010).


“School Pictures in Liquid Time: Assimilation, Exclusion, Resistance” 24 February 2014 | 4:00 – 6:00PM | Room 133, Barker Center, Harvard University

Photographs of school classes appear very early in the history of photography, in American Indian Boarding schools; and they are pervasive in individual and family albums throughout the world. Despite their ubiquity as potent media for recall and memorialization, class photos have received little critical attention. This talk examines the ideological deployment as well as the historical, memorial, and aesthetic dimensions of class photographs as a vernacular genre. Reflecting specifically on the exclusion of Jews in 20th century Central Europe, it looks at school pictures taken in the 1920s and 30s, as well as during the years of the Holocaust in sanctioned and clandestine schools (some in ghettos and camps). It analyzes both historical images and critical re-framings by contemporary artists who expose photography’s ideological role within political climates that shifted from emancipation and integration to exclusion, persecution and genocide.

Sponsored by: Seminar on Politics, Literature and the Arts, Mahindra Humanities Center


Keynote, International Conference on “Competing Memories,” University of Amsterdam, October 30, 2013.


“School Pictures in Liquid Time: Assimilation, Exclusion, Resistance” 17 October 2019 | University of Massachusetts Amherst

Photographs of school classes appear very early in the history of photography and are pervasive in individual and family albums throughout the world. Despite their ubiquity as potent media for recall and memorialization, class photos have received little critical attention. This talk examines the ideological deployment as well as the historical, memorial, and aesthetic dimensions of class photographs as a vernacular genre. Reflecting specifically at the process of exclusion of Jews in 20th century Central Europe, it looks at school pictures taken in the 1920’s and 30s, as well as in sanctioned and clandestine schools – some, in ghettos and camps – in the years of the Holocaust. It analyzes both historical images and critical re-framings by contemporary artists who expose photography’s ideological role within political climates that shifted from emancipation and integration to exclusion, persecution and genocide.


Injured Cities: Urban Afterlives, an International Conference, Columbia University, October 14-15, 2013.


“Doing Memory” Conference | 13-15 June 2013 | Vienna School of Fine Arts
The art-research conference “Doing Memory” examines artistic practices in the context of the politics of memory and visual research, primarily in Austria and Israel. 

Lecture: “Die Zukunft der Vergangenheit: Bilder und Worte aus Transnistrien” 


“Small Acts of Repair: The Unclaimed Legacy of the Romanian Holocaust” 25 April 2013 | Shoah Foundation, University of Southern California

Marianne Hirsch will discuss “postmemory”, a term that describes the relationship that the ‘generation after’ bears to the personal, collective, and cultural trauma of those who came before – to experiences they ‘remember’ only by means of the stories, images, and behaviors among which they grew up.


“Creation and Postmemory Conference” 10-12 April 2013 | Maison Francaise, Columbia University

In connection with this conference, there will be an art exhibit April 10-May 4: Cambodia, The Memory Workshop: Artworks by Vann Nath, Séra, and Emerging Cambodian Artists. Official exhibit opening April 10, 6-8 p.m. Registration required, please click here.

Conference opens on April 10th at 2:30 p.m. with keynote by Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University) and Leo Spitzer (Dartmouth College): Small Acts of Repair: The Unclaimed Legacy of Transnistria

The aftermath of mass murders is felt not only by the victims and their families but also by their descendants, who find themselves in the paradoxical situation of suffering the psychological effects of events they did not experience themselves.

It is this transmission of trauma that the notion of postmemory – developed in 1997 by Marianne Hirsch in her book Family Frames: Photography Narra­tive and Postmemory, and more recently in her 2012 book The Generation of Postmemory — attempts to describe. Hirsch demonstrates how an indirect form of memory may develop in individuals who did not experience a traumatic event personally but feel its active presence within their family.

Since postmemory is unable to draw on precise recollections, great importance is given to imagination and creation. Art has a major part to play in this process, since in some cases it is only through the works created by survivors that subsequent generations can access the traumatic event. Art also constitutes an ideal means for later generations to attempt to imagine an unknown past and discover its implications in their lives.

The conference and art exhibit are part of the city-wide Season of Cambodia Festival. The events at the Maison Francaise aim to examine how the arts and other creative forms harness indirect memory and ensure its transmission through a variety of archives and traces. Although the Cambodian genocide will be the primary focus, other genocides of the 20th century, such as the Holocaust and the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, will be discussed in a comparative perspective.



Keynote, “Practices of Memory Conference,” Fordham University, New York, March 1, 2013.


“Generation of Postmemory” Discussion and Celebration 11 February 2013 | 7-9pm | Hemispheric Institute for Performance & Politics, New York University

Join us for a book discussion and celebration on “The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust (Columbia University Press, 2012), Roundtable with Marianne Hirsch, Andreas Huyssen, Kellie Jones, Leo Spitzer and Marita Sturken, Moderated by Diana Taylor

“Memory Unbound” University of Ghent, Gent, Belgium, December 13, 2012.

Residency, Liguria Study Center, Bogliasco Foundation, Italy, October 15-November 17, 2012.


“Recollection, Retribution, Reconciliation: A Roundtable Discussion” 4 October 2012 | 8:00pm | Levis Faculty Center, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Featuring Karen Engle (U of Texas), Judith Halberstam (USC), Marianne Hirsch (Columbia U), and Michael Rothberg (Illinois). Moderated by Brett Kaplan (Illinois)


” ‘Small Acts of Repair:” The Unclaimed Legacy of Transnistria,” East European Memory Studies Research Group Seminar, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, May 9, 2012.

“Framing Lives,” 8th Biennial International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) Conference, Canberra, Australia, July 2012.

“Connective Memories: Dreams, Mediascapes, Journeys of Return,” Memory & Countermemory: Memorialization of an Open Future, Arizona State University, November 6-8, 2011.

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