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Holocaust Lecture Series 2017/2018 – 40th Anniversary

In 1979, then university chaplain, now emeritus, Rev. Bev Asbury organized what would prove to be the first of the now longest continuous Holocaust Lecture Series at any American university. Under the rubric “Holocaust: Jewish and Christian Perspectives,” prominent theologians and philosophers Irving Greenberg, Emil Fackenheim, and Franklin H. Littel, as well as one of the leading survivor memoirists, Gerda Klein, spoke to the greater Vanderbilt community. Since then our ongoing examination of ourselves and our society in the wake of the Holocaust has brought such notable figures as Elie Wiesel, Simon Wiesenthal, Claude Lanzmann, Lawrence Langer, Nechama Tec, Deborah Lipstadt, among many other scholars and survivors, along with an array of artistic engagements with the Shoah (dance, film, music, painting, photography, theater) to campus. The series has also been committed to drawing our community’s attention to past and present acts of genocidal violence, including those wreaked upon Armenians, Kurds, Native Americans, Roma, Tutsis, and Yazidis. It has addressed such general themes as art, gender, law, medicine, and theology, as well as the particulars of perpetration, resistance, standing by, and living on.

Almost seventy years since the UN’s adoption of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, we still find genocide and institutional discrimination. The fortieth anniversary of the series seems an appropriate time to reflect on the history of the series, and of our society as well, so as to look ahead to our common future. And beyond reflection and anticipation lies responsibility. Our responsibilities to teach, to learn, and to stand up do not end with Fall Semester final exams.

Please join the fortieth annual Vanderbilt University Holocaust Lecture Series throughout the 2017-18 academic year as it explores, through lecture, music, film, conversation, and genocide prevention simulation, the many places (borrowing from the title of the recent memoir of leading Holocaust scholar and this year’s plenary speaker, Saul Friedländer) where memory leads.