The Baker Museum Exhibition Lecture Afterlives of Trauma: Post-Holocaust Art, Writing and Memory
Laura S. Levitt, Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies and Gender, Temple University
Introduction by Susan Suarez, CEO, The Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center
This talk will consider what artistic and literary works, especially those created after the Holocaust can teach us about the Shoah, its memory and its commemoration. It will address some of the ways artist Mauricio Lasansky confronted this legacy in his haunting series "The Nazi Drawings" alongside other works of post-Holocaust art and writing. It will explore how such works enable very different viewers and visitors to confront the Holocaust. The talk will show how "The Nazi Drawings" enacts as well as facilitates a kind of conversation where different traumatic legacies and losses touch. Such encounters do not make these experiences one and the same but rather allow different legacies to illuminate each other.
This lecture is presented in partnership with the Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center.
Laura Levitt is professor of religion, Jewish studies and gender at Temple University, where she has chaired the religion department and directed both the Jewish studies and the gender, sexuality and women’s studies programs. Her current work deals with issues of trauma and loss and how art, objects and texts enable a kind of intimacy that makes these efforts less lonely.
Levitt is the author of The Objects That Remain (Penn State University Press, 2020), American Jewish Loss After the Holocaust (2007) and Jews and Feminism: The Ambivalent Search for Home (1997). With Laurence Silberstein and Shelley Hornstein, she edited Impossible Images: Contemporary Art After the Holocaust (2003) and, with Miriam Peskowitz, she edited Judaism Since Gender (1997). Levitt edits NYU Press’ North American Religions series with Tracy Fessenden (Arizona State University) and David Harrington Watt (Haverford College).
Levitt is currently working on a series of new projects that consider the reliquary desires that inform contemporary acts of commemoration, while putting together a collection of essays whose working title is I and You: Jewish Feminist Writing.
Susan Suarez has been president and CEO at The Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center since 2017. Founded in 2001, The Holocaust Museum serves more than 30,000 students and visitors annually at the museum, at schools and in the community, and it is consistently ranked in the top 10 of best things to do in Naples on TripAdvisor. During Suarez’s tenure, the museum has conducted a successful capital campaign, purchased and moved to a larger facility. The new, larger museum is nearly 10,000 square feet and includes its permanent collection with artifacts and stories from local survivors and liberators, special temporary exhibits and classroom space for student programs and lectures. The museum partners with many local groups in its mission to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to inspire action against bigotry, hatred and violence.
Suarez has a B.A. from Stanford University and an MBA from Santa Clara University. She is originally from Palo Alto, California, and has lived in Naples with her family since 2000. She has more than 30 years of nonprofit experience. In 2021, Suarez was named the Fundraising Executive of the Year by the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
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