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Lessons and Legacies



International Conference on the Holocaust

14-17 November 2024 (Thursday–Sunday)

Claremont McKenna College and the University of Southern California

Claremont and Los Angeles, California


Applications for Lessons & Legacies 2024 are closed.


Registration for accepted presenters and seminar participants is open. If you have been accepted as a presenter and have not received a registration link via email, please email

Venues: The conference will take place at Claremont-McKenna College, except for Saturday, November 16, when we will hold sessions at the University of Southern California. We will provide buses to transport conference attendees from Claremont to USC.

Due to limitations regarding venue and funding, conference attendance will be limited to those on the Conference Program. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate additional scholars, interested observers, or the general public.

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The Seventeenth Biennial Lessons and Legacies Conference is sponsored by the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University, and hosted by Claremont McKenna College and the University of Southern California. This conference will focus on languages of the Holocaust and its history, representation, and memory. We aim to bring together scholars working in different languages, disciplines, discourses, and methodologies for intellectual exchange.

Keynote Speakers: Christopher Browning and Sara Horowitz

Leading scholars in Holocaust History and Holocaust Literature respectively, Browning and Horowitz will reflect on the theme of the conference from their different disciplinary perspectives and in light of their long careers in the field.

Conference Theme: Languages of the Holocaust

We encourage proposals that interpret the theme “languages of the Holocaust” from a wide range of vantage points and disciplines. The conference theme refers both to the specific languages in which people have spoken and written—during and about—the Holocaust, as well as the ways in which the Holocaust has been represented in a wide range of discourses (documentary, archival, testimonial, judicial, academic, artistic, non-verbal, photographic). We are interested in proposals that explore different phases of the vast and ever-expanding range of postwar discourses by survivors and their descendants, scholars, artists, filmmakers, journalists, and so forth. Further, we invite proposals that take up issues of translation in both its literal and figurative meanings in the field of Holocaust Studies.

Questions of interest include: What role did linguistic strategies—and strategic silences—play in extending Nazism’s reach and in the perpetration of the Holocaust? What cultural, social, and political tensions or hierarchies emerged between different linguistic and cultural communities in the ghettos and camps? During the Holocaust, what strategies did Jewish writers and activists adopt to try to keep sensitive topics and projects illegible to potential Nazi observers/readers? How do the conceptual paradigms—and the literal languages—of wartime documents differ from those of postwar written and oral memoir and testimony?

How have paradigms and presuppositions in the history of the Holocaust, the study of Holocaust testimony, literature and film, and/or ethical reflections on the Holocaust and its legacy been shaped by the inclusion or exclusion of documents or whole archives in certain languages? How have political and ideological languages, particularly of the Cold War and of Zionism, highlighted, manipulated, suppressed, or represented events and documents of the Holocaust? What is the role of translation in mediating, shaping, popularizing, flattening, or obscuring our understanding of the Holocaust? Do artifacts of visual culture transcend linguistic boundaries, or relate to specific language traditions in specific ways? Does silence relate to all languages identically, or to specific languages in particular ways (does silence have an accent)? How might the discourses of history and the languages of memory and memorialization differ across nations, disciplines, and a group’s situatedness in relation to the Holocaust?

The above questions are meant to suggest and facilitate, but not to limit, possibilities for reflection and exchange. We invite proposals on any aspect of the Holocaust, in addition to those focused on the conference theme. Because we want to encourage exploration of new ways of approaching the Holocaust, we ask that proposals focus on research that the scholar has not presented at a previous Lessons and Legacies conference.

Submission Deadline: 4 December 2023


Conference sessions include several formats, as outlined below. Submissions should clearly indicate one of these formats. We welcome the trend toward increasingly collaborative work and are happy to acknowledge co-authors (identify in proposal), but for logistical issues of hotel space, presentation time, and limited financial assistance for presenters, we ask that only one person submit a proposal and, if accepted, present a paper.

Individual Papers will be organized into panels by the conference chairs, if accepted. 

Full Panels will consist of three or four papers and a moderator. (Conference Chairs will assign a moderator for panels without one.) 

Workshops consisting of one or two presenters should focus on particular questions, approaches, or sources. Workshops are intended to be interactive and practical, highlighting, for example, a new pedagogical approach or research question or method, curricular innovations, or creative ways to examine and interpret artifacts or texts both in research and the classroom. Conference organizers will prioritize proposals centered on participation and discussion.

Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars at various career levels for three meetings over the course of the conference for sustained exploration of a question or problem. Participants will discuss a common list of readings and position papers. Seminar proposals should include a seminar title and abstract (up to 300 words) that describes a compelling case for why this particular issue should be explored, and a CV for each seminar organizer. If your seminar is accepted, conference organizers will contact you with information about next steps for calls for applications. 

Note: Conference organizers will issue a call for applications for seminar participation in Spring 2024. Seminar organizers will accept 8 papers per seminar. Seminar papers must be available to post by 29 September 2024. Seminars can be designated as open or closed to auditors, at the discretion of the seminar organizer. We encourage open seminars but appreciate that in certain cases there are good rationales for keeping a seminar closed to non-participants.

To the extent possible, financial assistance for conference presenters will be provided. Priority is given to scholars who would otherwise not be able to attend: graduate students, independent scholars, faculty at teaching-oriented colleges not offering research support, and scholars living outside the United States with unusually high travel costs. Instructions for funding applications will be posted once the conference program is finalized.

Conference Co-Chairs:
Jennifer Geddes (University of Virginia) and Sven-Erik Rose (University of California, Davis)
Conference Co-Hosts:
Wolf Gruner (University of Southern California) and Wendy Lower (Claremont-McKenna College)
Workshop and Seminar Coordinator:
Anna Veprinska (University of Calgary)

Questions regarding registration and submission can be addressed to


Seminar Participant Applications have closed. 

Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars at various career levels for sustained discussion of a question or problem in three meetings over the course of the conference. Participants will access a common list of readings and position papers before the conference. Seminar organizers will accept 8 papers per seminar, in consultation with conference co-chairs.

Accepted seminar participants will be notified by May 2024 and asked to submit their individual seminar papers by September 29, 2024. Seminar participants will be required to have read all seminar papers as well as any additional readings indicated by seminar organizers before the conference begins on Thursday, November 14, 2024. Seminar sessions will be held on Thursday afternoon before the opening plenary, and on Friday and Sunday mornings.

Please note that seminar organizers may choose to make their seminar closed. Conference participants may not be able to participate in or attend seminars to which they have not been accepted. 

  • Contested Justice: The Language of Postwar Trials against Nazi Collaborators
  • Teaching Holocaust Studies with Refugee Studies: Global Perspectives
  • Coming to Terms with Our Terms—Critical Inquiry into “Testimony,” “Trauma,” “Memory” and “Intergenerational Transmission” as Foundational Concepts
  • The Holocaust: Global, Imperial, and Postcolonial Approaches
  • Holocaust Images and their Afterlives : Moving Across Cultures, Disciplines, and Media
  • Implicated and Complicit: Re-Reading Male Agency during the Holocaust Years
  • Mixed Couples and Their Families in the Holocaust