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Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture

Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture

Edited by Claudio Fogu, Wulf Kansteiner, and Todd Presner

ISBN 9780674970519

Publication date: 10/17/2016

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Depictions of the Holocaust in history, literature, and film became a focus of intense academic debate in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, with the passing of the eyewitness generation and the rise of comparative genocide studies, the Holocaust’s privileged place not only in scholarly discourse but across Western society has been called into question.

Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture is a searching reappraisal of the debates and controversies that have shaped Holocaust studies over a quarter century. This landmark volume brings international scholars of the founding generation of Holocaust studies into conversation with a new generation of historians, artists, and writers who have challenged the limits of representation through their scholarly and cultural practices. Focusing on the public memorial cultures, testimonial narratives, and artifacts of cultural memory and history generated by Holocaust remembrance, the volume examines how Holocaust culture has become institutionalized, globalized, and variously contested. Organized around three interlocking themes—the stakes of narrative, the remediation of the archive, and the politics of exceptionality—the essays in this volume explore the complex ethics surrounding the discourses, artifacts, and institutions of Holocaust remembrance.

From contrasting viewpoints and, in particular, from the multiple perspectives of genocide studies, the authors question if and why the Holocaust should remain the ultimate test case for ethics and a unique reference point for how we understand genocide and crimes against humanity.


  • Twenty-five years after the publication of Saul Friedländer's trailblazing book, the questions being asked about the Holocaust have changed but its importance as a test case for the humanities remains just as strong. Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture is a worthy successor to Friedländer's volume, skillfully charting as it does the epistemological, intellectual, and cultural issues at stake in engaging with this most defining event of human destructiveness.

    —Dan Stone, author of The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and Its Aftermath


  • Claudio Fogu is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Wulf Kansteiner is Professor of History at Aarhus University.
  • Todd Presner is Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Digital Humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Book Details

  • 528 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press