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Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Presents

Survivors: Psychological Trauma and Memory Politics in Hiroshima and Auschwitz

3/3/20, 5:00 PM

About this event

Speaker: Ran Zwigenberg, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, History, and Jewish Studies at Penn State

In 1962 a young Jewish-American psychiatrist by the name of Robert J. Lifton came to Hiroshima to conduct research on the psychiatric impact of the A-bomb. His research, combined with research on Holocaust survivors and Vietnam veterans, was crucial in the making of what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lifton’s work was entangled with and contributed to the history of memory in Japan and the West. Based on his award winning book, Hiroshima: the Origins of Global Memory Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2014), as well as more recent research. Ran Zwigenberg’s talk will examine these entanglements and connections between the medical reaction to the Holocaust and Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the politics of memory in both contexts. What stood in the center of both histories were the survivors of the events, who became focal points of growing body of research as well as political symbols. The ‘survivor’, Zwigenberg argues, developed historically as a transnational category that drew on many sources, both within what came to be known as Holocaust discourse and outside of it. The convergence of the histories of Hiroshima and the Holocaust in the late sixties and seventies and the making of the category of PTSD (as well as the subsequent rise of trauma studies) led to the formation of survivorhood as an expansive, universal category that was used beyond the confines of the two cases of mass-killings.

This public lecture is made possible by the Wexler Special Events fund for Holocaust & Genocide Studies and is sponsored by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the History Department. 
Event Location
  • Heller Hall, Room 1210
  • 271 19th Avenue South
  • Minneapolis MN
  • USA