November 6-8, 2011 | ASU Tempe and West campuses 

The symposium gathered distinguished scholars from the United States and Europe who, together with scholars from ASU, will discuss the relationship between trauma, memory, representation, memorialization and education.

Contributing perspectives from a variety of geographical locales and transdisciplinary approaches, leading scholars of Holocaust studies reflected on conflicted sites of memory with specialists in genocide studies, postcolonial studies, East European Studies, Native American studies and trauma studies. Anticipating Arizona’s centennial celebration in 2012, the symposium also highlighted some of the Southwest’s legacies connected to global and local memory. This event was supported by an ACLS conference grant and all major program units in the humanities at ASU. This event was part of the Arizona State University Project Humanities 2011: “The Humanities at a Crossroads: Perspectives on Place.”

download symposium program book

Themes, questions, and contexts

Haunting Memory

  • How do physical and emotional harms impact memory?
  • How does coming to terms with the past shape narratives and strategies of memorialization, monuments, and museums?
  • What is the relationship between memorializing of the past on behalf of victims and narrating the past for the sake of the present?

Memory and the Historical Past

  • Given the fact that memory is usually inseparable from internal conflict, how can people in the present resolve their internal conflict about the past?
  • What are the psychological resources available to dealing with trauma? How can we remember without homogenizing histories and idolizing seamless heritages?

Memory and the Future

  • How does memory shape the future of an individual or a group?
  • Which or whose memory makes our future possible, open, and hopeful?
  • Can trans-generational memory transform uninhabitable places and difficult times that were weighted down by haunting legacies and conflicted heritages?
  • Can succeeding generations remember human possibility without redemptive consolations of victory marches, monuments, museums, and other conventional ways of generating “cheap grace?”


  • The academic context: developments and newly emerging fields of shared questions in Holocaust Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Genocide Studies, East European Studies, Memory Studies, and Trauma Studies.
  • The public context: memory at war, representations of memory, contested sites of museums, memorials, monuments, memoirs, and public discourses.
  • The cultural context: the memory of the victims, readings of the past that shape our present and future, liberating narratives and movements in art, architecture, literature, performance, and theory.

Conference organizers


  • Martin Beck Matuštík, symposium chair
    Lincoln Professor of Ethics & Religion and Co-Director, Center for Critical Inquiry and Cultural Studies
  • Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, symposium co-chair 
    Irving & Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism and Director, Center for Jewish Studies

Program committee

  • Monica Casper
    Professor of Sociology, Director, Division of Humanities Arts & Cultural Studies, West campus
  • Joel Gereboff
    Head of Faculty of Religious Studies, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
  • Patricia Huntington
    Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, West campus
  • Mark von Hagen
    Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
  • Eric Wertheimer
    Director, Center for Critical Inquiry and Cultural Studies

Logistical support

  • Ilene Singer
    Assistant Director, ASU Jewish Studies
  • Dawn Beeson
    Coordinator Senior/Business Manager, ASU Jewish Studies


Guest scholars

  • Cathy Caruth 
  • Yael Danieli 
  • Helen Epstein 
  • Yael Feldman 
  • Karl Figlio 
  • Lewis R. Gordon 
  • Marianne Hirsch 
  • Abdul R. JanMohamed
  • Berel Lang 
  • Lawrence L. Langer 
  • Martin Beck Matuštík 
  • Marilyn Nissim-Sabat 
  • Simon J. Ortiz 
  • Sarah Pessin 
  • Gabriele M. Schwab 
  • Leo Spitzer

ASU faculty in conversations

  • Akua Duku Anokye 
  • Volker Benkert
  • Patrick Bixby
  • Janet Burke 
  • Patricia Clark 
  • Daniel Gilfillan 
  • Anna Holian
  • Marianne Kim 
  • Sharon Kirsch
  • Neal Lester
  • Barry Moon 
  • Arthur Sabatini 
  • Claudia Sadowski-Smith 
  • Corine Schleif 
  • Charles St. Clair 
  • Yasmin Saikia
  • Michael Stancliff 
  • Shahla Talebi 
  • Jannelle Warren-Findley

Student participants

  • Jessica Auchter 
  • Bree Beal 
  • Stephanie Bilinsky 
  • Michael Broyles 
  • Diana Coleman 
  • Cindy Tekobbe Cowles 
  • Theresa Ekin
  • Greg Grobmeier
  • Nova Hall
  • Gerald Johnston 
  • Darren Kleinberg
  • Marie-Louise Paulesc 
  • Yan Mann 
  • Richard Ricketts 
  • Victoria Sargent 
  • Nathan Schick 
  • Charles Williams 

Sponsorship and support

This symposium was made possible thanks to the following: 


additional support

community support

Symposium art

symposium poster prominently featuring red, yellow and green abstract art involving Jewish symbols
The program art for this symposium—"Unwavering Faith, Unwavering Life" (2010)—is a memoir tryptich by artist Nova Hall. Nova is a graduate of the Interdisciplinary Arts & Performance program at ASU at the West campus, and a 2010 recipient of The Joan Frazer Memorial Award in the Arts.