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Simon Wiesenthal Conference
SWC 2024: Travels Beyond the Holocaust. Memorialization, Musealization and Representation of Atrocities in Global Dialogue

von Dienstag, 25. Juni 2024 -  14:30
bis Freitag, 28. Juni 2024 - 12:00

Institute of Culture Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences & Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, Vienna


FriedenstatueAround the world, the Holocaust has become an emblematic historical reference point for other atrocities and their representations. The transfer of tropes and icons, knowledge and expertise has translated into a broad range of phenomena in the global field of memorialization and musealization, but also in the narrative framing of atrocities/egregious human rights violations. On the one hand, the Holocaust has traveled as a historical imperative of “never again”, of the respect of human rights, and a model or template for remembrance, repair and musealization of many atrocities worldwide. On the other hand, the complex journeys of representing the Holocaust have opened space for comparisons, controversies and, in extreme cases, Holocaust distortion; they also gave incentive for claims that Holocaust memory has overshadowed that of colonial and imperialist pasts.

Against this backdrop, this conference seeks to explore how the memorialization and musealization of the Holocaust and other genocides, wars, histories of sexual violence, slow violence and colonialism travel around the world across a range of media and come into dialogue with one another. We intend to look at the many and varied templates, models and examples being used, challenged or explicitly rejected through the symbolic and material travel across cultures and geographies. The conference focuses on memorial museums, memorial sites and other materialities of remembrance, but also takes into consideration film, photographs, social media, oral and public history, literature, and the fields of community advocacy and activism. We are interested in analyzing the diverse ways in which forms of memorialization and musealization come into exchange and become entangled – not only in relation to the Holocaust, but casting a wider net to other internationalizations of memorial debates, including the “comfort women” trope in and beyond East Asia, the redress movement in the US, the strategic essentialism of Roma in Europe, or the travel of the notion of (enforced) disappearance from Latin America to Europe, to name several other examples. We ask how this movement of ideas and tropes challenges the representation of victim-perpetrator dichotomy and brings into view the gray zones of complex positionalities (beneficiaries, facilitators, implicated subjects) and forms of agency (resistance, resilience). Which global trends regarding the representation of gender, sexualized and sexual violence as a form of crimes against humanity and genocide can be detected in the practices of memorialization and representation of atrocities? How are the intersections with class, ethnicity, ‘race’ and religion addressed? Finally, which role do the worldwide distribution of material and human remains, and their exhibition in museums and other memorial institutions, play in the evolving ‘globalization of memory’?

The conference, co-organized by the Institute of Culture Studies (IKW) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute of Holocaust Studies (VWI) is at the same time the annual conference of the Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network, coordinated by an international Steering Committee and the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (AHDA) of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. This is also the closing conference of IKW’s ERC project on “Globalized Memorial Museums. Exhibiting Atrocities in the Era of Claims for Moral Universals”.

The keynote lecture will be delivered by Carol Gluck (Columbia University) and is open to the public:

Memory on the Move: The “Comfort Women” and their Afterlives

Carol Gluck is the George Sansom Professor of History Emerita at Columbia University. A historian of modern Japan, she also writes on global memories of the Second World War.

25 June 2024
3:30 pm
Austrian Academy of Sciences, Doktor-Ignaz-Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna, Festsaal, 1st floor

The three simultanuos panels taking place on 26-28 June at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute are for the registered conference speakers only.

Please find more info here:

Foto: © Korea Verband

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Das Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust-Studien (VWI) wird gefördert von:


bmbwf 179


wienkultur 179


  BKA 179