Animals and the Holocaust Workshop – CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS

Date / time: 22 April, All day

Animals and the Holocaust Workshop - CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS


Animals and the Holocaust Workshop

Early July 2024, exact date tbc | University of Oxford, UK

Call for Participants, deadline – 22 April 2024

This two-day workshop at the University of Oxford invites researchers and practitioners from all career stages to reflect on the topic of animals and the Holocaust. While there has been no significant and compelling account of animals during the Holocaust, many researchers recall finding traces of animals in their archival work. From family pets who were abandoned or given up because of persecution, to the guard dogs that attacked Jews in ghettos and camps, to the livestock and wild animals that Jews encountered on their journeys, and documents that were damaged by animal activity, animals intersect with Holocaust history in several places. Furthermore, antisemitic tropes in propaganda often employed animal imagery and are repurposed in works like Maus by Art Spiegelman and other various media about the Holocaust.

This workshop approaches the history of animals and the Holocaust from a broad perspective. Its goals are tripartite: first, to build a methodological approach for including animals in historical research and writing about the Holocaust and mass violence; second, to highlight important examples from archives; finally, to explore how writing the history of animals during the Holocaust adds to our understanding of victimhood and Nazi persecution to develop a deeper social history of this period. As a result, we welcome proposals on topics included – but not limited to – the following:

  • Victims’/survivors’ pets, the impact of Nazi discriminatory policies on them, separation from them
  • Perpetrators’ animals, such as pets, police/guard dogs etc.
  • Lice, mice and rats etc. in ghettos and camps
  • Survivors’ literal and figurative memories of animals
  • Animal motifs in antisemitic literature and propaganda
  • Representations of the Holocaust using animals – poetry, literature, film, etc.

The workshop format will include a roundtable discussion, participants’ presentations of any archival findings related to the topic, and an interactive session with an archive. Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be invited to write up their papers for publication in a peer-reviewed edited collection or special issue of a journal. This publication will make a major contribution to the social history of the Holocaust and mass violence, introducing a new category of analysis and outlining its methodological, archival, and empirical value.

Applicants are invited to submit a short bio (150 words) and an abstract (300 words) to Barnabas Balint (University of Oxford) and Charlotte Gibbs (University of Southern California) Applications close on 22nd April, 2024. Invited participants will be asked to write a paper of c. 2,000 words to be circulated in advance of the workshop.

Key dates
Deadline for abstract submissions – 22 April 2024
Notification of successful submissions – 26 April 2024
Short workshop papers (c. 2000 words) due for circulation – 24 June 2024
Workshop – July 2024, exact date tbc


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