Introduction to the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive: Conducting Research with Audiovisual Testimonies of Genocide Survivors

Emilie Garrigou-KemptonOn Monday October 10, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons at Bird Library, Emilie Garrigou-Kempton (Center for Advanced Genocide Research, University of Southern California), will present an introduction for researchers and teachers to the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive (VHA) database, a repository of over 50,000 video testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides.

The VHA workshop will familiarize attendees with the database interface and search engine; showcase examples of testimony use in innovative research and teaching by scholars from a wide range of disciplines; and allow attendees to start exploring material relevant to their own research and/or teaching.

Initially a repository of Holocaust testimony, the VHA has expanded to include testimonies from the Armenian Genocide of World War I, the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and the Guatemalan Genocide of 1978-1996. Collected interviews span 63 countries and 41 languages. In a vast majority of VHA survivor testimonies, interviewees speak of matters related to “place,” e.g., beloved family homes from which they had to flee or from which they were forcibly removed because of persecution; places of incomprehensible suffering; and places of refuge.

The USC Shoah Foundation is “dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides a compelling voice for education and action.”

This event is sponsored by the Humanities Center and the Syracuse University Libraries. Co-sponsors include the School of Education – Holocaust & Genocide Education Program; Maxwell School – Department of History, with the Newhouse School, Documentary Film & History; and the College of Arts & Sciences – Department of Languages, Literature, & Linguistics.

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