Mark Celinscak and Curtis Hutt
Artistic expression frequently engages with the question of suffering. In so doing, it confronts the gravity and complexity of the human condition. This volume investigates the relationship between art and suffering. In short, the contributors to this volume collectively demonstrate that suffering is an undisputed and shareable motivating experience.
This collection features original essays that focus on the subject of art and suffering, including topics such as the representation of violence and the intersections of art and human rights. Some of the key questions explored are as follows:
- How has suffering motivated artists around the world?
- How have artists used their platforms to call attention to human rights abuses?
- How can suffering be incorporated responsibly and ethically in works of art?
- What role does art play in the struggle against violations of human dignity and the promotion of building a more equitable world?
Each essay is complemented by full-color reproductions of artistic works that illustrate the concepts being discussed, including a graphic essay on the topic of “comfort women.”
Winner of the 2016 Vine Award for Nonfiction
The Allied soldiers who liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in April 1945 were faced with scenes of horror and privation. With breathtaking thoroughness, Distance from the Belsen Heap documents what they saw and how they came to terms with those images over the course of the next seventy years. On the basis of research in more than seventy archives in four countries, Mark Celinscak analyses how these military personnel struggled with the intense experience of the camp; how they attempted to describe what they had seen, heard, and felt to those back home; and how their lives were transformed by that experience. He also brings to light the previously unacknowledged presence of hundreds of Canadians among the camp’s liberators, including noted painter Alex Colville.
Distance from the Belsen Heap examines the experiences of hundreds of British and Canadian eyewitnesses to atrocity, including war artists, photographers, medical personnel, and chaplains. A study of the complicated encounter between these Allied soldiers and the horrors of the Holocaust, Distance from the Belsen Heap is a testament to their experience.
Waitman Wade Beorn
On October 10, 1941, the entire Jewish population of the Belarusian village of Krucha was rounded up and shot. While Nazi death squads routinely carried out mass executions on the Eastern Front, this particular atrocity was not the work of the SS but was committed by a regular German army unit acting on its own initiative. Marching into Darkness is a bone-chilling exposé of the ordinary footsoldiers who participated in the Final Solution on a daily basis.
Although scholars have exploded the myth that the Wehrmacht played no significant part in the Holocaust, a concrete picture of its involvement at the local level has been lacking. Among the crimes Waitman Wade Beorn unearths are forced labor, sexual violence, and graverobbing, though a few soldiers refused to participate and even helped Jews. By meticulously reconstructing the German army's activities in Belarus in 1941, Marching into Darkness reveals in stark detail how the army willingly fulfilled its role as an agent of murder on a massive scale. Early efforts at improvised extermination progressively became much more methodical, with some army units going so far as to organize "Jew hunts." Beorn also demonstrates how the Wehrmacht used the pretense of anti-partisan warfare as a subterfuge by reporting murdered Jews as partisans.
Through archival research into military and legal records, survivor testimonies, and eyewitness interviews, Beorn paints a searing portrait of a professional army's descent into ever more intimate participation in genocide.
Books and Monographs written or edited in whole or in part by the History Department faculty members are collected here.
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