Visualizing the Witness

This seminar investigates what it means not only to read or listen to, but to see testimony. It makes extensive use of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and its historical development in order to understand the assumptions upon which visual testimony is based and the strategies on which it relies. Except for significant feature films such as Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, visual Holocaust testimony is rarely analyzed as the product of visual media, and the Fortunoff archives offer a brilliant and varied field of endeavor to use for this purpose. While it centers on the archives, the seminar develops the theoretical background and skills of close reading and close looking necessary to analyze a wide range of testimony on many different subjects. Students make presentations and submit papers on topics of their choosing in consultation with the professor. Qualified undergraduates are welcome.

Taught by Margaret Olin Fall 2019
Course Number: 
HSAR 839