New Books In Genocide Studies


Interviews with Scholars of Genocide about their New Books


  • Adam Brown, Judging Privileged Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the Grey Zone (Berghahn, 2015)

    Adam Brown, "Judging 'Privileged' Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the 'Grey Zone'" (Berghahn, 2015)

    02/07/2020 Duración: 01h10min

    The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust included the creation of prisoner hierarchies that forced victims to cooperate with their persecutors. Many in the camps and ghettos came to hold so-called “privileged” positions, and their behavior has often been judged as self-serving and harmful to fellow inmates. Such controversial figures constitute an intrinsically important, frequently misunderstood, and often taboo aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on Primo Levi’s concept of the “grey zone,” this study analyzes the passing of moral judgment on “privileged” Jews as represented by writers, such as Raul Hilberg, and in films, including Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Negotiating the problems and potentialities of “representing the unrepresentable,” Judging 'Privileged' Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the 'Grey Zone' (Berghahn Books) engages with issues that are fundamental to present-day attempts to understand the Holocaust and deeply relevant to reflectio

  • Vincent Bevins, The Jakarta Method (Public Affairs, 2020)

    Vincent Bevins, "The Jakarta Method" (Public Affairs, 2020)

    01/07/2020 Duración: 01h25min

    Why did the word “Jakarta” appear as graffiti on the streets of Santiago in 1973? Why did left-wing Chilean activists receive postcards in the mail with the ominous message “Jakarta is coming”? Why did a Brazilian general lose his temper in an interview with university students, threaten their safety, and yell the name of Indonesia’s capital city? In The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World (Public Affairs, 2020) journalist Vincent Bevins links the history of the overthrow of Sukarno – a leader of 1960s Third Worldism –, the rise of the Suharto – one of the most brutal and corrupt dictators – , and the slaughter of 500,000 to one million Indonesians allegedly linked to the Indonesian Community Party (the PKI) to the Latin American “dirty wars”, including Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Central America. This is a major achievement and something that very few scholars have been able to do. Bevins persuasively argues that the long-ignored and even silen

  • John Roosa, Buried Histories: The Anticommunist Massacres of 1965-1966 in Indonesia (U Wisconsin Press, 2020)

    John Roosa, "Buried Histories: The Anticommunist Massacres of 1965-1966 in Indonesia" (U Wisconsin Press, 2020)

    24/06/2020 Duración: 01h38min

    On the night of September 30/October 1, 1965, a bungled coup d’état resulted in the deaths of a handful of Indonesian generals and a young girl. Within days the Indonesian army claimed that the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), the largest communist party outside of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, was responsible. This set in motion the confusing, mysterious, and often perplexing events in 1965 that led to the downfall of Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno – an anti-imperialist who sought to combine the forces of nationalism, religion, and communism – and the rise of the authoritarian General Suharto who ruled Indonesia for 32 years – a period of far-right military dictatorship known as the New Order. As part of Suharto’s overthrow of Sukarno, the circle of officers around him incited regional officers to start a campaign of arrest, detention, torture, and mass murder of millions of Indonesians. We don’t have exact numbers, but somewhere between 500,000 and a million were killed and a

  • Gabriel Finder, Justice behind the Iron Curtain: Nazis on Trial in Communist Poland (U Toronto Press, 2018)

    Gabriel Finder, "Justice behind the Iron Curtain: Nazis on Trial in Communist Poland" (U Toronto Press, 2018)

    22/06/2020 Duración: 01h23min

    When Americans think about trials of Holocaust perpetrators, they generally think of the Nuremberg Trials or the trial of Adolf Eichmann or perhaps of the Frankfort trials of perpetrators from Auschwitz. If they think of Polish trials at all, they likely assume these were show trials driven by political goals rather than an interest in justice. Gabriel Finder and Alexander Prusin's book Justice behind the Iron Curtain: Nazis on Trial in Communist Poland (University of Toronto Press, 2018) shows that the truth was considerably more nuanced. The book is a comprehensive account of the trials of Nazi perpetrators conducted in liberated and postwar Poland. But it’s more than that—it’s a reflection on how politics impact justice, on what trials can teach us about perpetrator behavior, and on the ways in which ordinary Poles responded to the Holocaust. Finder and Prusin show that the trials were shaped by their political context. But this context allowed and sometimes encouraged the participation of a variety of act

  • David Slucki et al., Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust (Wayne State UP, 2020)

    David Slucki et al., "Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust" (Wayne State UP, 2020)

    22/06/2020 Duración: 01h12min

    In Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 2020), Co-editors David Slucki, Loti Smorgon Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, Gabriel N. Finder, professor in the department of German Languages and Literatures and former director of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia and Avinoam Patt, the Doris and Simon Konover Professor of Judaic Studies and director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life at the University of Connecticut, have assembled an impressive list of contributors who examine what is at stake in deploying humor in representing the Holocaust. This book comes at an important moment in the trajectory of Holocaust memory. As the generation of survivors continues to dwindle, there is great concern among scholars and community leaders about how memories and lessons of the Holocaust will be passed to future generations. Without survivors to t

  • John K. Roth, Sources of Holocaust Insight: Learning and Teaching about the Genocide (Cascade Books, 2020)

    John K. Roth, "Sources of Holocaust Insight: Learning and Teaching about the Genocide" (Cascade Books, 2020)

    15/06/2020 Duración: 01h15min

    At Newman I co-teach a class titled "The Holocaust and its Legacies." I teach the course with a Professor of Theology and it's designed to help students understand the ways in which the Holocaust shaped the world they live in. It is, in a sense, designed to help students gain insight. John K. Roth's new book Sources of Holocaust Insight: Learning and Teaching about the Genocide (Cascade Books, 2020) may become a required text in this course.  His book is different than, I think, any other books I’ve discussed on the show. It is a reflection, a tribute, and perhaps a kind of valedictory all at once. John reflects on the people who have taught him, in all the different ways teaching can happen, and the lessons that he’s learned over decades of thinking and writing about the Holocaust. In doing so, he offers the reader an insight both into his own development and into the way historians, theologians, philosophers and artists have responded to the Holocaust over time. It's a revealing book, sober, reflective and

  • A. D. Crosby and M. B. Lykes, In Beyond Repair? Mayan Women’s Protagonism in the Aftermath of Genocidal Harm (Rutgers UP, 2019)

    A. D. Crosby and M. B. Lykes, "In Beyond Repair? Mayan Women’s Protagonism in the Aftermath of Genocidal Harm" (Rutgers UP, 2019)

    10/06/2020 Duración: 01h13min

    In Beyond Repair? Mayan Women’s Protagonism in the Aftermath of Genocidal Harm (Rutgers University Press, 2019), Alison D. Crosby and M. Brinton Lykes draw on eight years of feminist participatory action research conducted with fifty-four Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, Chuj, and Mam women to explore Mayan women’s agency in their search for truth, justice, and reparation for harm suffered during the genocidal violence perpetrated by the Guatemalan state at the height of the thirty-six-year armed conflict. The book discusses the complexities of navigating, negotiating, and interpreting informal and formal justice processes, as participated in and experienced by protagonists, women’s rights activists, lawyers, psychologists, Mayan rights activists, and researchers who have accompanied them as intermediaries. Jeff Bachman is a senior lecturer in Human Rights at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. He is the author of the United States and Genocide: (Re)Defining the relationship and edito

  • Alexander Gendler, Khurbm 1914-1922: Prelude to the Holocaust (Varda Books, 2019)

    Alexander Gendler, "Khurbm 1914-1922: Prelude to the Holocaust" (Varda Books, 2019)

    08/06/2020 Duración: 01h09min

    The murder of two-thirds of European Jews, referred to by many as the Holocaust, did not begin June 22, 1941, with the German invasion of the Soviet Union, or September 1, 1939, with the beginning of WWII, or with 1938 Kristallnacht, or even with the 1933 rise of Hitler. According to Alexander Gendler, it began on August 1, 1914, with the start of WWI, of which WWII was just its continuation. It was then that Russia's Imperial Army of Nicholas II committed the now largely forgotten genocide of Russian Jews. His new book, Khurbm 1914-1922: Prelude to the Holocaust (Varda Books, 2019), is the most extensive collection of eye-witness testimonies and official communications revealing the genocidal destruction of Jewish life by the Russian army during World War I. Alexander Gendler, a former NPR “Morning Edition” commentator, syndicated columnist, and a contributing writer to the New York Times Op-Ed page, is the Editor-in-Chief of the Forgotten Genocide project sponsored by the Center for Jewish Life Studies. Rob

  • Joyce E. Leader, From Hope to Horror: Diplomacy and the Making of the Rwanda Genocide (Potomac Books, 2020)

    Joyce E. Leader, "From Hope to Horror: Diplomacy and the Making of the Rwanda Genocide" (Potomac Books, 2020)

    05/06/2020 Duración: 01h19min

    Earlier this year the world marked the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. An occasion for mourning and reflection also offered a chance to reflect on the state of research about the genocide. Among the many books that were published in the past year, Joyce E. Leader's new book From Hope to Horror: Diplomacy and the Making of the Rwanda Genocide (Potomac Books, 2020) stands out. Leader was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Rwanda from 1991 through April 1994. As such, she was ideally positioned to witness Rwanda's slide into catastrophe. The book is an unusual combination of memoir, reflection and lessons learned. Leader offers a nuanced interpretation of the causes of the violence, one that supplements other secondary research. She also reflects on how we can apply the lessons of Rwanda to future conflicts. But most interesting are her own reflections on her experiences. Leader paints vivid pictures of what it was like to live in Rwanda before and at the very beginning of the genocide. And she is unusuall

  • Stanislav Kulchytsky, The Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: An Anatomy of the Holodomor (CIUS Press, 2018)

    Stanislav Kulchytsky, "The Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: An Anatomy of the Holodomor" (CIUS Press, 2018)

    05/06/2020 Duración: 01h39min

    Stanislav Kulchytsky’s The Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: An Anatomy of the Holodomor (CIUS Press, 2018) presents a meticulous research that unveils the mechanism of the Holodomor as a man-made famine, which was launched in Ukraine by the Soviets as a punitive and controlling measure undertaken to discipline and suppress those, peasants in the first place, who might have rebelled against the Soviet programs such as collectivization. With this book, Kulchytsky offers a complex approach to understanding the Holodomor: from the origins of the Soviet Union to the development of sophisticated programs that were designed to secure the stability and unequivocal dominance of the totalitarian regime, masked, however, as a “universal virtue” for all Soviets. As with the Soviet Union, the famine of 1932-1933 asks to consider multiple components that led to one of the most tragic and traumatic episodes in the history of Ukraine in the 20th century: the methodological frame that Kulchytsky provides takes into account the

  • Brian Greene, Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020)

    Brian Greene, "Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe" (Random House, 2020)

    02/06/2020 Duración: 02h37s

    Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020) Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanati

  • Björn Krondorfer, The Holocaust and Masculinities: Critical Inquiries into the Presence and Absence of Men (SUNY Press, 2020)

    Björn Krondorfer, "The Holocaust and Masculinities: Critical Inquiries into the Presence and Absence of Men" (SUNY Press, 2020)

    26/05/2020 Duración: 52min

    In recent decades, scholarship has turned to the role of gender in the Holocaust, but rarely has it critically investigated the experiences of men as gendered beings. Beyond the clear observation that most perpetrators of murder were male, men were also victims, survivors, bystanders, beneficiaries, accomplices, and enablers; they negotiated roles as fathers, spouses, community leaders, prisoners, soldiers, professionals, authority figures, resistors, chroniclers, or ideologues. The contributors to The Holocaust and Masculinities: Critical Inquiries into the Presence and Absence of Men (SUNY Press, 2020), edited by Björn Krondorfer and Ovidiu Creangă, examine men’s experiences during the Holocaust. Chapters first focus on the years of genocide: Jewish victims of National Socialism, Nazi soldiers, Catholic priests enlisted in the Wehrmacht, Jewish doctors in the ghettos, men from the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz, and Muselmänner in the camps. The book then moves to the postwar context: German Protestant theolog

  • Alex Jeffrey, The Edge of Law: Legal Geographies of a War Crimes Court (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Alex Jeffrey, "The Edge of Law: Legal Geographies of a War Crimes Court" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    29/04/2020 Duración: 01h11min

    What happens when a court tries to become a “new” court? What happens to the many artifacts of its history—previous laws and jurisprudence, the building that it inhabits, the people who weave in and out of it? This is the question that grounds Alex Jeffrey’s new book, The Edge of Law: Legal Geographies of a War Crimes Court (Cambridge University Press, 2020), which explores the making of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through extensive engagements with the different actors working in and around the Court, as well as with the Court itself, Jeffrey shows how the law is productive of many different edges, which are themselves both practical (in the sense that they reflect real-world conditions) and idealized (in the sense that they allow the law to take responsibility for some things but not others). By looking at the ways that a court that is imagined to be above the small concerns of the world that it inhabits must, in fact, encounter those small concerns, Jeffrey is able to shine light on the ways that

  • Leslie M. Harris, Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (U Georgia Press, 2019)

    Leslie M. Harris, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

    28/04/2020 Duración: 59min

    Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together contributions from scholars, activists, and administrators, the volume combines two broad bodies of work: (1) historically based interdisciplinary research on the presence of slavery at higher education institutions in terms of the development of proslavery and antislavery thought and the use of slave labor; and (2) analysis on the ways in which the legacies of slavery in institutions of higher education continued in the post–Civil War era to the present day. The collection features broadly themed essays on issues of religion, economy, and the regional slave trade of the Caribbean. It also includes case studies of slavery’s influence on specific institutions, such as P

  • A Discussion with Kelly McFall about Using Reacting to the Past in College Courses

    A Discussion with Kelly McFall about Using "Reacting to the Past" in College Courses

    13/04/2020 Duración: 55min

    How best to teach history and, for that matter any social science subject, to college students? The traditional answer has been to lecture them. Given that the typical length of an attentive lecture-listener is about 15 minutes, this might not be the best way to get the job done. Beginning in the late 1990s, a group of professors offered another technique now called "Reacting to the Past." You can read all about it here. Essentially, the "Reacting" technique asks students to play the roles of historical actors and to re-enact particular events and situations. The instructors using the method have had great success. Today I talked to Kelly McFall, a "Reacting" practitioner, about the techniques and his experience using it. McFall created a "Reacting" module called The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations, and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994 (W. W. Norton, 2018). In the interview, McFall talks about how the particular modules are created, how they are used in the classroom, and how any colleg

  • Peter Fritzsche, Hitlers First Hundred Days: When Germans Embraced the Third Reich (Basic Books, 2020)

    Peter Fritzsche, "Hitler's First Hundred Days: When Germans Embraced the Third Reich" (Basic Books, 2020)

    06/04/2020 Duración: 01h04min

    We've grown to understand in the past few weeks how worlds can change in just a few days. Peter Fritzsche's new book Hitler's First Hundred Days: When Germans Embraced the Third Reich (Basic Books, 2020) is an extraordinary examination of how, in just a few months, Germans got used to living around, among, and, mostly, in unity with, Nazis. Fritzsche's argument is sophisticated and nuanced. But it's the details of everyday life he provides that make this book stand out. Fritzsche uses diaries, newspaper articles, letters and other sources to provide a journalistic (in the best sense of the world) sense of how people lived through and in a revolution. He highlights moments of collective experience--the anti-jewish boycott, national celebrations, elections. But he also tells us about an influenza outbreak that closed school in a small town shortly after Hitler became chancellor, reminding us that many live through moments of high drama in very ordinary ways. Historians and genocide scholars routinely try to und

  • Matt Cook, Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020)

    Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

    30/03/2020 Duración: 54min

    Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020), Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts―and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction. The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its diffe

  • Nancy Sinkoff, From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History (Wayne State UP, 2020)

    Nancy Sinkoff, "From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History" (Wayne State UP, 2020)

    17/03/2020 Duración: 59min

    From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History (Wayne State University Press, 2020) is the first comprehensive biography of Dawidowicz (1915-1990), a pioneer historian in the field that is now called Holocaust studies. Dawidowicz was a household name in the postwar years, not only because of her scholarship but also due to her political views. Dawidowicz, like many other New York intellectuals, was a youthful communist, became an FDR democrat midcentury, and later championed neoconservatism. Nancy Sinkoff argues that Dawidowicz's rightward shift emerged out of living in prewar Poland, watching the Holocaust unfold from New York City, and working with displaced persons in postwar Germany. Based on over forty-five archival collections, From Left to Right chronicles Dawidowicz's life as a window into the major events and issues of twentieth-century Jewish life. From Left to Right is structured in four parts. Part 1 tells the story of Dawidowicz's childhood,

  • Paul Hanebrink, A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism (Harvard UP, 2018)

    Paul Hanebrink, "A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism" (Harvard UP, 2018)

    16/03/2020 Duración: 37min

    In A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism (Harvard University Press, 2018), Paul Hanebrink, Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Rutgers University, traces the complex history of the myth of Judeo-Bolshevism. Hanebrink shows how Fascists, Conservatives and Nazis imagined Jewish Bolsheviks as enemies who crossed borders to subvert order from within and bring destructive ideas from abroad. This is a hundred years history that traces how this myth transformed through the Cold War period and continues to this day in new forms. Hanebrink's book breaks new ground, is based on brilliant research and is highly readable. Dr Max Kaiser teaches at the University of Melbourne. He can be reached at  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

  • Great Books: Hillary Chute on Art Spiegelmans Maus

    Great Books: Hillary Chute on Art Spiegelman's "Maus"

    10/03/2020 Duración: 01h18s

     Art Spiegelman's Maus is the story of an American cartoonist's efforts to uncover and record his father's story of survival of the Holocaust. It is also a cartoon, where the Jews are mice, the Nazis cats, the Poles dogs, and the French, well, you'll have to read it. It's a story of survival and also a story of silences, and how the next generation can find and make sense of stories that seem to defy representation in their sheer horror. It's also a triumph in story-telling and a serious meditation on good and evil; on the nature of Romantic; familiar and filial love; on America's legacy of absorbing immigrants who arrive with often unspeakable traumas in a past that finds little resonance in a culture obsessed with entertainment and fast news. Maus upended the conventions of representing the Holocaust and historical trauma for a far greater audience than the American Jewish communities. It broke several rules: it spoke about past suffering to outsiders, it used low-culture to represent catastrophes, and it r

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