Donna-Lee Frieze

Staff member

Donna is a Genocide Studies scholar, specializing in memory and aftermath studies. Her research focuses on the Stolen Generations, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, and the Bosnian genocide, with a theoretical interest in filmic representations of genocide, testimony, and the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. Donna is the editor and transcriber of Raphael Lemkin’s autobiography Totally Unofficial  (Yale University Press, 2013), which has been translated into several languages. Donna has been at Deakin for all her academic career, teaching undergraduate units on the Holocaust and Genocide Studies and coursework to graduate students.

  • Research

    With CHRG colleague Steven Cooke, Donna currently is writing and book on community Holocaust museums in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the United States.

  • Publications


    Other publications

    • 2019. Steve Cooke and Donna-Lee Frieze, ‘Temporary Exhibitions at the Jewish Holocaust Centre: Shifting Responses to Race and Racism in Australia’, in S. Gilbert and A. Alba (eds), Holocaust Memory and Racism in the Postwar World. Wayne State University Press.
    • 2018. Donna-Lee Frieze, ‘Challenges and Advantages of Team-Teaching the Holocaust Face to Face and in the Cloud’, in J. Lanicek (ed.), Holocaust Education at Australian Universities in the 21st Century. Australian Humanities Review.
    • 2018. Donna-Lee Frieze, ‘Arshaluys Mardigian/Aurora Mardiganian: Absorption, Stardom, Exploitation, and Empowerment’, in E. Bemporad and J.W. Warren (eds), Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators. Indiana University Press.
    • 2018. Tony Joel, Donna-Lee Frieze, and Mathew Turner, ‘Educational Bridges to the Intangible: An Australian Perspective to Teaching and Learning About the Holocaust’, in Andy Pearce (ed.), Remembering the Holocaust in Educational Settings. Routledge.
    • 2014. Donna-Lee Frieze, ‘Three Films, One Genocide: Remembering the Armenian Genocide through Ravished Armenia(s)’, In Pam Maclean and Nigel Eltringham (eds), Remembering Genocide. Routledge.
    • 2014. Avril Alba, Steven Cooke,  and Donna-Lee Frieze, ‘“Community Museums and the Creation of a ‘Sense of Place”: Holocaust Museums in Australia’, Recollections: A Journal of Museums and Collections, 9, no. 1.
    • 2014. Steven Cooke and Donna-Lee Frieze, ‘”It’s Still in Your Body”: Identity, Place and Performance in Holocaust Testimonies’, G. Leon (ed.), Travel and Imagination. Ashgate.
    • 2014. Donna-Lee Frieze, ‘”Simply Bred Out”: Genocide and the Ethical in Rabbit-Proof Fence’, in A. Hinton, T LaPointe and D. Irvine (eds), Hidden Genocides: Power, Knowledge, and Memory. Rutgers University Press.
  • Teaching

    For the past 15 years, Donna has been involved with teaching the undergraduate history unit The Holocaust at Deakin. For 10 years, she also taught a graduate unit on Genocide. Donna also has been involved in units on Sport in History, the Cold War, the French Revolution, and Human Rights and International Law. Donna also teaches coursework to graduate students and, along with Dr Kate Hall, regularly gives workshops and seminars to graduate students. 

  • Supervision

    Donna supervises Honours and PhD students on the Holocaust, genocide studies, testimony, and memory studies.

  • Awards, fellowships, and honours

    • Sept 2015. Donna was appointed as an expert delegate by the Australian Government to the Academia Working Group of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance(IHRA). Since Australia became a full member of the IHRA in 2019, Donna has been on the Troika of the Committee on the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity and has been nominated to be the Committee’s Chair for 2022.
    • 2013. Totally Unofficial won an Honorable Mention for the Southern California Book Festival, in the Biography/Autobiography category, sponsored by JM Northern Media LLC. The book also won an Honorable Mention for the 2013 New England Book Festival given by the JM Northern Media Family of Festivals, in the Biography/Autobiography Category.
    • 2018. Senior Research Fellow on Pilot Project for Holocaust Education and Remembrance Commemorations in Australian Schools, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government.
    • 2016. Genocide Studies Scholar in Residence, Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne.
    • 2013-14. Senior Research Fellow, Center for Jewish History, NYC. (The research involved an examination of the audio testimony collection in the Austrian Heritage Collection housed at the Leo Baeck Institute. Specifically, it researched the interview techniques of the Gedenkdiener [young Austrian interns] and the relationship of ‘place’ – Austria/America— in the interviews. The research also looked at the impact of the Anschluss, Kristallnacht, and displacement on child survivors in the collection.)


    Invited talks

    • Dec. 2018. The Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies, Warsaw
    • April 2018. Brandeis University, Boston
    • April 2018. Colgate University, New York
    • Oct. 2015. The Russian and New Nakhichevan Diocese, Moscow
    • Aug. 2015. Monash University, Melbourne
    • April 2015. The Armenian Government, Yerevan
    • April 2015. Clarke University, Strassler School for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Boston
    • 2014 and 2015. Guest lectures, Liberal Studies Program, New York University, NYC
    • May 2014. Center for Jewish History, NYC
    • April 2014. Rutgers University, New Jersey
    • April 2014. Association for the Studies of Nationalities 19th Annual Convention Program, Columbia University, NYC
    • March 2014. CUNY: Queens College, NYC
    • March 2014. Global Liberal Studies, New York University
    • Feb. 2014. Jewish Book Council Festival, London
    • Nov. 2013. Concordia University, Montreal
    • Oct. 2013. Columbia University, NYC
    • Sept. 2013. National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, Boston
    • May 2013. Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives, CUNY—Queensborough
    • April 2013. Kean University, New Jersey
    • 2012. Rutgers University, New Jersey
    • 2011. Rutgers University, New Jersey
    • 2011. Armenian National Committee, Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Melbourne
    • Dec. 2011. Columbia University, NYC
    • June 2011. Columbia University, NYC
    • Dec. 2010. The Foreign Ministry of Armenia, Yerevan


    International conference organizing

    • June 2021. Co-organizer representing Contemporary Histories Research Group with the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute” FoundationCanadian Museum for Human RightsContemporary Histories Research Group and Pilecki Institute, Poland, for the international conference ‘Children and Nation: Forcible Child Transfer and the Genocide Convention through Historical and Contemporary Lenses’, scheduled to take place Yerevan, Armenia, June 2021
    • 2015. Head Organizer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars Conference in Yerevan: The 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The Century of Genocides. Retrospective Analysis of 20th Century Genocides.
    • 2014. Co-conference committee with Andrew Woolford and Adam Muller of the International Association of Genocide Scholars Conference in Winnipeg. Time, Movement, and Space: Genocide Studies and Indigenous Peoples.
    • 2013. Co-conference committee with Marcello Flores and Daniel Feierstein of the International Association of Genocide Scholars Conference in Siena. The Aftermath of Genocide: Victims and Perpetrators, Representations and Interpretations.
    • 2009. Co-organizer with Peter Balakian. Genocide and Human Experience: Raphael Lemkin’s Thought and Vision. An International Conference. Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society. NYC.


    Curatorial and advisory activities

    • 2015-. Appointed as an Expert by the Australian Government to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Academic Working Group.
    • 2014-2016. Academic Advisor. The New Armenia. Film on the Armenian Genocide, Philadelphia.
    • 2013. Exhibit curation scholar. ‘Raphael Lemkin and the Quest to End Genocide’. Google Cultural Institute, with the Center for Jewish History.
    • 2012. Academic Advisor. The Rescuers: Exhibition and Public Program. Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne.
    • 2011-2013. Academic Advisor. Watchers of the Sky. Sundance Prize winning film on genocide, NYC.
    • 2009-2010. Academic Advisor. The new permanent exhibition of the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne
    • 2009-2010. Academic Advisor and curator. Letters of Conscience: Raphael Lemkin and the Quest to End Genocide. Six-month exhibition at the Center for Jewish History with the American Jewish Historical Society. Curated by Yeshiva University Museum, NYC.
  • Media and public events

    Donna has been interviewed extensively on various topics, most notably the Stolen Generations, Raphael Lemkin, and the Armenian genocide, for radio, newsprint, and podcasts in Australia, the United States, and Canada.

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