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Pascale R. Bos

Bio: Pascale R. Bos is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topics: The Holocaust & German. The author has an hindex of 5, co-authored 6 publications receiving 51 citations.

Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines the role of personal investment in the study of the Holocaust and the particular role that positionality, personal and cultural memory, and identification and empathy play in this work, as well as a discussion of the feminist concept of positionality and postmemory.
Abstract: For scholars who work within German literature and culture of the twentieth century, the topic of the Holocaust is hard to ignore. The confrontation with this topic is a complex one, however, as the magnitude of its severity and the scale of its brutality make the Holocaust difficult to approach neutrally. Through a discussion of the feminist concept of positionality, the notion of "autobiographical reading," and the concept of "postmemory," this essay examines critically the issue of personal investment in the study of the Holocaust, and the particular role that positionality, personal and cultural memory, and identification and empathy play in this work. (PB) For students, teachers, and scholars who work within German litera ture and culture of the twentieth century, the topic of the Holocaust is hard to ignore. Whether one's research or teaching focuses specifically on the period 1933-1945 or not, the historical events and their grave cultural, historical, and moral legacy for Germans, Jews, and European culture (and Western civilization) need somehow to be considered, ana lyzed, and made sense of. For any of us who are part of this field of twentieth-century German studies, then, we tend to be confronted with the Holocaust on a regular basis, a confrontation that is on a number of levels a very complex one, especially as the Holocaust is impossible to approach neutrally. The magnitude of its severity and the scale of its brutality make it difficult to remain unmoved. And, in fact, no one ex plicitly suggests that we should, as absolute scholarly neutrality seems oddly incongruent with the severity of the subject. As a result, scholarly encounters with the Holocaust are often implicitly shaped by a host of ethical and personal imperatives. Those of us who do this work read, research, or teach on the Holocaust because of the "need to remember,"

19 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The art of teaching consists of helping others to comprehend things more fully or solve problems more effectively as mentioned in this paper. Yet the Holocaust can never be fully comprehended, and the problems it raises abou...
Abstract: The art of teaching consists of helping others to comprehend things more fully or solve problems more effectively. Yet the Holocaust can never be fully comprehended, and the problems it raises abou...

16 citations

Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2006
TL;DR: Adopted Memory: The Holocaust, Postmemory, and Jewish Identity in America as discussed by the authors is an important motif in the art and literature by American Jewish authors of Eastern European background who are also descendants of Holocaust survivors.
Abstract: Adopted Memory: The Holocaust, Postmemory, and Jewish Identity in America The Holocaust is an important motif in the art and literature by American-Jewish authors of Eastern European background who are also descendants of Holocaust survivors. Their imagining of the Holocaust is at times infused with a strong nostalgic “postmemorial” longing. While these works may present this longing in a self-conscious fashion, the ways in which they are received by an American audience without a familial connection to the Holocaust can nevertheless be problematic. For highly assimilated American Jews, these works may not facilitate any kind of a genuine encounter with the horror of the Holocaust, but instead function merely to foster a stronger fascination with the imagined more “authentic” Jewish life of the sthetl. As such, it strengthens Jewish identity on the basis of nostalgia.

5 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the role of the family as a space of transmission and the function of gender as an idiom of remembrance of the Holocaust is discussed. But the focus is on the second generation, which is the hinge generation in which received, transferred knowledge of events is being transmuted into history or into myth.
Abstract: Postmemory describes the relationship of the second generation to power- ful, often traumatic, experiences that preceded their births but that were never- theless transmitted to them so deeply as to seem to constitute memories in their own right. Focusing on the remembrance of the Holocaust, this essay elucidates the generation of postmemory and its reliance on photography as a primary medium of transgenerational transmission of trauma. Identifying tropes that most potently mobilize the work of postmemory, it examines the role of the family as a space of transmission and the function of gender as an idiom of remembrance. The guardianship of the Holocaust is being passed on to us. The second genera- tion is the hinge generation in which received, transferred knowledge of events is being transmuted into history, or into myth. It is also the generation in which we can think about certain questions arising from the Shoah with a sense of living

1,104 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Novick as discussed by the authors argues that the Holocaust became more ubiquitous in American cultural and political life after 1968 than it had been in the postwar years, rejecting psychoanalytically informed accounts that explain this lag in terms of "trauma" or "repression."
Abstract: The Holocaust in American Life. By Peter Novick. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999. Pp. 1, 373. Cloth, $27.00) In this engaging and important study, Peter Novick undertakes two primary tasks: to offer an historical account of how the Holocaust became such a prominent feature of American cultural and political life, and to question the widely held assumption that this prominence is an inherently good thing. In addition to these goals, Novick seeks to debunk the claim that the Holocaust stands apart from other atrocities as a unique purveyor of moral lessons. Indeed, he takes his case one step further by contending that, in the end, the Holocaust may actually offer no moral lessons at all. In tracing the history of the Holocaust in American life, Novick is largely successful. Like other recent scholarship on this themes, Novick argues that, while Americans were not silent about Nazi atrocities during and immediately after the war, the "Holocaust" was not recognized as a discrete historical event until decades later. In contending that the Holocaust became more ubiquitous in American cultural and political life after 1968 than it had been in the postwar years, Novick rejects psychoanalytically informed accounts that explain this lag in terms of "trauma" or "repression." Drawing on a wide range of published and unpublished sources, Novick argues that in the years following World War II, public discussion of the Holocaust was muted because it ran counter not only to the aims of organized American Jewry, but to the broader cultural and political climate of postwar America. The demands of the Cold War and the new alliance between Germany and the United States required that Stalinism, rather than the Holocaust, be cast as the most damning crime of the modern age. Leaders of the American Jewish community promulgated this view and were largely silent about the Holocaust in an attempt to dispel stereotypes that identified Jews with both Bolshevism and eternal victimhood. An excessive public preoccupation with the Holocaust was seen as incompatible with a rapidly assimilating American Jewish community, determined to participate fully in euphoric postwar prosperity. While the destruction of European Jewry was surely a "widely shared Jewish sorrow" during these years, it was, according to Novick, a sorrow shared largely in private. By the mid-1960s, this had begun to change. Novick cites the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and the subsequent publication of Hannah Arendt's controversial Eichmann in Jerusalem as two of the major catalysts for a growing public discussion of the Holocaust. A less obvious claim is that the heightened public preoccupation with the Holocaust in the late 1960s and 1970s coincided with the birth of identity politics, reflecting both a broader shift away from an integrationist ethos to a particularist one, and the growth of a "victim culture" that increasingly valorized oppression and suffering over heroism. While not everyone may agree with Novick's implicitly critical definition of identity politics, this is an important dimension of his argument, for it offers a compelling, if only partial explanation for the ubiquity of the Holocaust in contemporary American life. It was only within a political culture that valorized victimization that the Holocaust could become the locus of so many strong and contradictory feelings, including possessiveness, proprietariness, envy, and resentment. Novick is also interested in how, by the late 1960s, a growing public Holocaust discourse reflected the shifting priorities of organized American Jewry, and here, too, he offers an illuminating account of how Jewish leaders once reticent about the Holocaust were now placing it at the top of their political agendas. In their concern over escalating rates of intermarriage and waning interest in organized Judaism, leaders now seized on the Holocaust in order to shore up a sense of American Jewish identity and to caution American Jews against the dangers of complacency. …

736 citations

Dissertation
01 Jan 2011
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a study based on interviews with 26 grandchildren of Nazi perpetrators, followers and Wehrmacht soldiers and examine how they remember their Nazi family histories and the Holocaust and the Third Reich more generally.
Abstract: This empirical study is based on interviews with 26 grandchildren of Nazi perpetrators, followers and Wehrmacht soldiers and examines how they remember their Nazi family histories and the Holocaust and the Third Reich more generally. Most studies of this ‘third generation’ are framed in the terms of purely constructivist theories of collective (Halbwachs [1925] 1992) or communicative and cultural memory (Assmann 1999) and thus cannot take account of present but unrecognized aspects of the past. In contrast, this thesis draws on the traumatic realism of Dominick LaCapra and others to examine questions concerning the memory and representation of extreme events and makes use of the psychoanalytic notions of working-through and acting-out/mourning and melancholia. It does so to distinguish between what is remembered and what remains dissociated, marginalized and excluded in the grandchildren’s accounts of their Nazi family pasts. It furthermore draws on this non-binary distinction to acknowledge the two interrelated dimensions that remembering the National Socialist past entails in ‘the double “post” of the postmodern and the post-Holocaust’ (Santner 1990: 18): 1) coming to terms with the absence of essential, unfractured and stable identities, i.e. with what Eric Santner and Dominick LaCapra term structural trauma and 2) mourning the suffering caused by the Nazis and countless ordinary Germans, i.e. what both theorists refer to as historical trauma. This study explores how these two dimensions intersect in the generation of the grandchildren to find that the structural dimension has been receding into the background since German unification. This implies that the cultural and official memory of the Holocaust is increasingly either used for the purposes of national identity building, and thus in a redemptive way, or rejected because it is considered to obstruct a return to an essential and pure national identity. In drawing on recent theories of shame, this thesis argues that efforts of ‘coming to terms’ with the NS past can only be ‘successful’ if working-through structural trauma is part of the process.

23 citations