Dr. Lawrence Baron: “The Armenian-Jewish Connection: Multinational Memory in Feature Films about the Armenian Genocide”

Programme of Armenian Studies is delighted to be co-presenting this lecture with the UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

The campaign of Turkish governments to deny the historicity of the Armenian Genocide and prevent the production and distribution of films about it enabled Holocaust films to establish the cinematic iconography of genocide.

Applying Michael Rothberg’s Laurie Baronmodel of “multi-directional memory”, this lecture examined how Jews in inter-war and wartime Europe cited the Armenian Genocide as a precursor to their persecution by Nazi Germany. After World War Two, however, films produced about the Armenian Genocide referenced the Holocaust and films about it to legitimate the Armenian ordeal as genocide and counter the Turkish obliteration of its memory.

This lecture was illustrated with clips from the earliest feature film about the Armenian Genocide through the most recent.

Lawrence Baron has held the Nasatir Chair of Modern Jewish History at San Diego State University since 1988 and directed its Jewish Studies Program until 2006. He received his Ph.D. in modern European cultural and intellectual history from the University of Wisconsin where he studied with George L. Mosse. He taught at St. Lawrence University from 1975 until 1988. He has authored and edited four books including “The Modern Jewish Experience in World Cinema” (Brandeis University Press: 2011) and “Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema” (Rowman and Littlefield: 2005). He served as the historian and as an interviewer for Sam and Pearl Oliner’s “The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe”. In 2006 he delivered the keynote address for Yad Vashem’s first conference devoted to Hollywood and the Holocaust. His contribution to Holocaust Studies was profiled in “Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide” (Routledge: 2010). In the fall of 2015, he was the Ida King Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Holocaust Studies at the Richard Stockton University of New Jersey.