Marianne Hirsch & Leo Spitzer's School Photos in Liquid Time: Reframing Difference
Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University Podcasts
New Books at SOF/Heyman: a podcast featuring audio from events at Columbia University, and interviews with the speakers and authors.From clandestine images of Jewish children isolated in Nazi ghettos and Japanese American children incarcerated in camps to images of Native children removed to North American boarding schools, classroom photographs of schoolchildren are pervasive even in repressive historical and political contexts. School Photos in Liquid Time offers a closer look at this genre of vernacular photography, tracing how photography advances ideologies of social assimilation as well as those of hierarchy and exclusion. In Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer’s deft analysis, school photographs reveal connections between the histories of persecuted subjects in different national and imperial centers.
Marianne Hirsh and Leo Spitzer, Connective Memories: Dreams, Mediascapes, Journeys of Return
Center for Critical Inquiry and Cultural Studies
This paper is based on our research on the former Habsburg Austrian city of Czernowitz – now Chernivtsi in the Ukraine – and the region formerly known as Transnistria, to which thousands of Czernowitz Jews were deported by fascist Romanians and their Nazi German allies during World War Two. It contrasts incipient and reluctant local efforts to memorialize this complicated and painful history with the memorial acts of Czernowitz survivors and their descendants scattered throughout the world. What has been erased and forgotten in contemporary Chernivtsi, takes ever-new form in the memories returning survivors bring back to place and, even more fully, in the lively afterlife this destroyed European Jewish culture displays on the World Wide Web. We argue that memory has become “connective” – generated by digital archives and practices and by the communities these foster on digital social networks. These communities elicit desires for renewed “return” engagements to place that, in turn, continue to energize additional digital listserv and website interactivity. Marianne Hirsch is the William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Hirsch was born in Romania to parents who survived the Holocaust, and she received her BA/MA and PhD from Brown University. In 1998 Hirsch had the opportunity with Leo Spitzer to revisit Czernowitz, now Chernivitsi, Romania, to collect narratives and histories from her parents’ former home where they endured years of persecution. These as well as other intricately connected memories and remembrances of the Holocaust are collected in Ghosts of Home: the Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory (2010), co-authored with Leo Spitzer.Hirsch is the former editor of PMLA and the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the ACLS, the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, the National Humanities Center, and the Bellagio and Bogliasco Foundations. Her book, The Generation of Postmemory: Gender and Visuality After the Holocaust, is forthcoming in 2012.Leo Spitzer is the Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of History Emeritus at Dartmouth College. His numerous publications and essays, including Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism (1999) and Lives in Between: Assimilation and Marginality in Austria, Brazil and West Africa (1999), directly or indirectly deal with displacement, resistance, and with the role of personal and cultural memory. A significant contribution to this line of thought stems from his own childhood when his parents fled from war-torn Austria to Bolivia where he was born and raised in La Paz within a community of German-speaking refugees. Spitzer recalls the tenacity of this community who courageously adjusted their lives to reconfigure spaces where they might both remember the traditions of their past and leave room for new beginnings. From 1992-1993, Spitzer was a Lucius Littauer Fellow at the National Humanities Center, and he is the recipient of Guggenheim, Ford, and NEH awards and fellowships, among others. See https://asunews.asu.edu/node/21636"Hotel Bolivia: A Latin-American life for Jews, ASU NEWS, 26 September, 2011"