Engaging the disturbing images of evil / by Lisa Herman.
This dissertation inquires into “How does a non-participant in an evil event engage with (disturbing images of) that event?” It is a journey through Auschwitz as those born after remember it. The author explores recent artistic and academic texts and presents her theory of the evolution of research into remembering Auschwitz. She focuses on ‘third iteration’ research that occurs in the liminal space between history and imagination, an area explored by James Young (2000) among others. As the author examines how her post-war generation performs the task of engaging with the images of Auschwitz, she ponders the tropes that address this issue and how they influence and resonate with her own thinking. She searches for an epistemology addressing the images of horror that engage her and finds that others discuss the arts as integral to the remembering task. She develops a liminal methodology integrating academic and artistic work to address her research question and demonstrates how she practices the methodology by engaging images of Auschwitz. The dissertation is a ‘performative text’ in which the author intends the reader, while reading the work, to sometimes experience Ernst van Alphen's (1997) ‘Holocaust effect’—the absence of a people, non-understanding, shock, sadness, rage….
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