Holocaust studies

AAC pour un numéro spécial de Holocaust studies sur Personal documents and ephemera as sources for interdisciplinary Holocaust scholarship. DLC 31 août 2023.

Since the 1970s, and proliferating in the 1980s, works of life-writing and of academic scholarship have sought to reconstruct the experience of individuals during persecution, and as refugees in different parts of the world. In the past decade micro-historical research has drawn increasingly on personal documents from the Holocaust. Branching out from works on Holocaust testimony and memoirs, literary scholars have engaged with diaries, letters and other ego-documents, and sociologists, linguists and ethnographers have shown interest in personal archives of families affected by the Holocaust. At the same time, the past two decades have seen a rise in publications of memoirs and other forms of life writing that engages specifically with such sources. Typically, such works proceed from one disciplinary perspective and rarely engage with scholarship working on similar sources but with a different scholarly method. Yet, a conversation of scholars in different disciplines working on the same documentary evidence is still lacking. Volumes such as The Diary: The Epic of Everyday Life models a different approach by bringing together literary and cultural scholars with historians in the exploration of diary writing.

The proposed special issue seeks to facilitate a similar conversation and bring together scholarship on personal documents from the Holocaust. The aim is to develop and test multi- and interdisciplinary work regarding the value of different ways of approaching and interrogating these sources. We expect historians, literary scholars, linguists and translation scholars, historical anthropologists and sociologists among others to contribute to this special issue. We also encourage those working on documents from hitherto unexplored archival collections of Jewish refugees to majority-world locations, to propose contributions.

To this end we are inviting proposals for research articles of 7,000-12,000 words (incl. references and bibliography), annotated translations and research notes. We expect to host two gatherings during the writing process to engage in productive conversation about the  links between topics and cross-disciplinary approaches. The finished articles should act both as stand-alone research papers and model a methodological conversation across the entire special issue suggesting new directions for research in this field.  

Possible themes engaging personal documents and ephemera from the Holocaust could include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Multiple approaches to the same sources to explore gains of multidisciplinary research and opportunities for interdisciplinary work
  • The role of emotions for writing about personal archives
  • The relevance of materiality
  • Space and place in personal documents
  • Gender as an analytical category
  • Connecting micro- with macro-history
  • Language, translation and genre 
  • The value of engaging one collection of documents or a single diary
  • The value of working across a number of collections or different sources
  • Ethical considerations of writing about the lives of ‘private’ individuals 
  • Sociological, anthropological, historical, literary theory arising from engagement with personal documents

​​​​Timeline:

  • 300 word proposal with 100 word bio by 31 August 2023. Please send this to h.holtschneider@ed.ac.uk and simonamy@msu.edu.
  • Notification to submit full article by 30 September 2023.
  • Publication is envisaged by the end of 2025.
Contact Info: 

Dr Hannah Holtschneider, University of Edinburgh, UK

Contact Email: 


Citer ce billet
A.-L. Zwilling (2023, 19 juin). Holocaust studies. sociorel. Consulté le 27 février 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/ufkj

Auteur/autrice : A.-L. Zwilling

Ingénieure de recherche CNRS hors classe HdR, membre de l'unité mixte de recherche "Droit, religion, entreprise et société" (UMR 7354, CNRS/Université de Strasbourg). Directrice, notamment, du projet international EUREL, informations sur l'état juridique et sociologique des religions en Europe (http://www.eurel.info).

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