1st Edition

Performative Holocaust Commemoration in the 21st Century

Edited By Diana I. Popescu, Tanja Schult Copyright 2022
    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book charts the performative dimension of the Holocaust memorialization culture through a selection of representative artistic, educational, and memorial projects.

    Performative practice refers to the participatory and performance-like aspects of the Holocaust memorial culture, the transformative potential of such practice, and its impact upon visitors. At its core, performative practice seeks to transform individuals from passive spectators into socially and morally responsible agents. This edited volume explores how performative practices came into being, what impact they exert upon audiences, and how researchers can conceptualise and understand their relevance. In doing so, the contributors to this volume innovatively draw upon existing philosophical considerations of performativity, understandings of performance in relation to performativity, and upon critical insights emerging from visual and participatory arts.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History.

    Introduction: Performative Holocaust commemoration in the 21st century

    Diana I. Popescu and Tanja Schult

    1. The Holocaust is present: reenacting the Holocaust, then and now

    Rachel E. Perry

    2. ‘Doing’ memory: performativity and cultural memory in Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s Alter Bahnhof Video Walk

    Laura M.F. Bertens

    3. Archaeological fever: situating participatory art in the rubble of the Warsaw ghetto

    Maria Magdalena Dembek

    4. Reading the traces: embodied engagement with the past at three former Nazi concentration camps

    Kerry Whigham

    5. Remembrance in the Living Room [Zikaron b’Salon]: grassroots gatherings as new forms of Holocaust commemoration in Israel

    Liat Steir-Livny

    6. Pedagogy, performativity and ‘never again’: staging plays from the Terezín Ghetto

    Lisa Peschel and Alan Sikes


    Diana I. Popescu is Associate Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. Her research sits at the intersection of Holocaust studies, art history and museum studies. She has written on audience reception, and the ethics and aesthetics of Holocaust memory and representation in museums and in the visual arts.

    Tanja Schult is Associate Professor of Art History at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University, Sweden. Her research has focused on the commemoration of the Holocaust and other painful pasts in a variety of media.