Conference Report

The Holocaust Between the Global and the Local:

Impressions on the 10th Genealogies of Memory Conference

In November 2020, the ENRS’s 10th Genealogies of Memory Conference took place. This conference, focused on “The Holocaust between Global and Local Perspectives”, has now been reviewed by Nastassya Ferns, one of the conference presenters. This is what she’s got to say:

2020 has been a particularly complicated year. Over the past twelve months, we have seen such catastrophes as the murder of George Floyd by the Atlanta police, the obliteration of natural landscapes due to uncontrollable wildfires, a widespread pandemic that continues to claim thousands of victims by the day, and a sharp rise in nationalist sentiments which have often resulted in violent dissent.

While every year is certainly marked by life-changing events, 2020 has delineated a distinct shift in our social, political, and cultural norms. These events ripple through us, compelling us to question our relationship to our known histories and perceptions of an uncertain future. In such turbulent times, how do we unite our historical understanding of the Holocaust within the context of our rapidly changing, increasingly globalized society?

The 10th Genealogies of Memory Conference poses this question, among others, to the academic community. As an annual project, Genealogies of Memory is committed to uniting scholars from around the world to discuss history and memory from both a European and global viewpoint. At this year’s conference, organized by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, The Holocaust Between Global and Local Perspectives introduces a diverse cast of presenters to speak on a range of subjects that covered Holocaust memory, commemoration, history, and education. With expert direction from project coordinator Gábor Danyi, this year’s program was facilitated and broadcast entirely online, demonstrating the new reality of academic discourse during the coronavirus pandemic. However, ironically, the online nature of the conference  allowed for this global gathering to emerge as one of the most comprehensive discussions of contemporary Holocaust research available to date. The eight sessions took place over the month of November and generated more than 30 hours of unique content. With the entire conference available to watch on YouTube and Facebook, I had the privilege to review all eight sessions post-conference at my own pace. After examining each in depth, three key dimensions emerged from the symposium, which I will elaborate on below.

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