Dr Donna-Lee Frieze is a Genocide studies scholar, specialising in memory and aftermath studies. Donna is a Research Fellow and teaches the Holocaust at Deakin University, a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University and a genocide scholar in residence at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne. Donna recently returned from a research trip to Montreal:
With the support of the Contemporary Histories Research Group, I travelled to Montreal to fulfil two research tasks in June 2016.
The first was to present at the Association of Critical Heritage Studies Third Biennial Conference titled “What Does Heritage Change?”. More than 800 people from 51 countries participated. Along with fellow Contemporary Histories Research Group member Steven Cooke and our esteemed Canadian colleague Associate Professor Adam Muller from the University of Manitoba, we presented a paper on the transformative potential of testimony in Holocaust museums. Adam focused on the Indigenous experience of Canadian settler-colonialism and his government funded project titled Embodying Empathy. Steven’s focus was the Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Museum and I focused on the Tsisternakaberd memorial and Genocide museum in Yerevan, Armenia. The paper generated a good discussion afterwards.
While the conference was important for our research, the majority of the week was engaged in meetings with my two colleagues on a collaborative, long-term study on the transformative potential of Holocaust education in museums to ameliorate violence and racism in society.
We discussed many ways to approach this including theoretical frameworks and methodology and felt that we had laid the groundwork for a fascinating and important study. We will have fortnightly Skype meetings to keep up the momentum and prepare a strong project ready for grant applications within the next few months.
Interdisciplinary scholarship requires input from academics in varying but thematically related fields: Adam teaches in English, Film and Theatre but is a genocide studies scholar, who has expertise in memory studies and critical theory; Steven teaches in Museum Studies and is a geographer with a strong research history in Holocaust studies and while I teach in History, I am a genocide studies scholar with research interests film and philosophy. The mix, for us, is a great blend, producing strong intellectual content and an exciting project. More news to come soon.
Many thanks to the Contemporary Histories Research Group for supporting this collaboration and kick starting this project.
Source: Donna-Lee Frieze
From left to right: Dr Donna-Lee Frieze, Associate Professor Adam Muller, and Steven Cooke