Holocaust studies conference at MTSU

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The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 100th anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide will lend an especially poignant significance to the 2015 MTSU Holocaust Studies Conference.

A riveting learning experience hailed internationally as one of the finest of its kind, the 12th biennial gathering will take place Oct. 21-23 in MTSU's James Union Building as well as a few off-campus locations.

Scholars from around the world are expected to attend this examination of the systematic murder of millions of Jews and other non-Aryans, the disabled, homosexuals and others by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime in pursuit of a "master race" in the 1930s and 1940s.

Richard Hovannisian, professor emeritus of history at the University of California at Los Angeles, will speak on "The Armenian Genocide on its Centennial: What Have We Learned?" at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, in the Tennessee Room.

The Ottoman government began systematically murdering ethnic Armenians living in what is now Turkey in 1915. The death toll is estimated at between 800,000 and 1.5 million.

Gerhard Weinberg, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will deliver an address titled "The Holocaust after 70 Years" at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in the Tennessee Room.

Weinberg, the pre-eminent World War II scholar of his era, also will speak on "World War II: An Entirely Different Kind of War" at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Adams Place, 1920 Memorial Blvd. in Murfreesboro.

Sonja Dubois, who was orphaned at age 2 when her parents were taken from their home in the Netherlands to a concentration camp, will share her story at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Central Magnet School, 701 E. Main St. in Murfreesboro.

Jacqueline Osherow, distinguished professor of English at the University of Utah, will read and discuss her poetry inspired by the Holocaust in "Orders of Infinity: Poems of the Holocaust" at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, in the Tennessee Room.

The addresses by Hovannisian, Weinberg, Dubois and Osherow are free and open to the public. The public also is welcome to attend academic panel presentations from 1-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, and from 12:30-5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23.

Panel discussion topics include popular culture as protest, racism during the Holocaust, memorialization, surviving and witnessing the Holocaust. Academics will join survivors and liberators to share their views. The Armenian genocide will be the sole topic of Wednesday's sessions.
Education sessions for K-12 teachers are slated to begin at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Planned activities include lectures on journalist Edward R. Murrow's report from the Buchenwald death camp, discussions on Holocaust memorials and a dramatic interpretation of the life of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who hid Jews and other refugees in her home during the Third Reich.
For more information, contact Nancy Rupprecht, an MTSU professor of history, at 615-898-2645 ornancy.rupprecht@mtsu.edu or Elyce Helford, an MTSU professor of English, at 615-898-5961 orelyce.helford@mtsu.edu. The conference website is http://www.mtsu.edu/holocaust_studies/conference.php.

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