Posted on 12/04/2018
© Vienna Wiesenthal Institute
Dr Becky Jinks delivered a Simon Wiesenthal Lecture at the Vienna Institute for Holocaust Studies on 15 February 2018. The Simon Wiesenthal Lecture series presents the most recent research insights on the Holocaust to a professional audience as well as a broader public, and involves young scholars as well as established academics. Becky’s lecture was entitled Representing Genocide: The Holocaust as Paradigm?, and explored the ways in which Holocaust representations have influenced how other genocides are understood and represented in the West.
The lecture took, as examples, the four canonical cases of genocide in the twentieth century – Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda – and explored how they have been represented in film, literature, photography, and memorialisation. Dr Jinks argued that most ‘mainstream’ representations of genocide largely replicate the mainstream representational framework of the Holocaust – including the way in which the latter resists recognising the rationality, instrumentality, and normality of genocide, preferring instead to present genocide as an aberrant, exceptional event in human history. The lecture concluded by discussing a contrasting series of more nuanced, engaged representations of genocide: these tend to revolve around precisely ordinariness of genocide and the structures and situations common to human society which can become the crucible for genocidal violence.