The Third Reich of Emotions

Alon Confino is Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  A leading historian of Modern Germany, the Holocaust, and Europe, and of memory, culture and nationhood, he is the author of The Nation As a Local Metaphor: Württemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory 1871-1918 (1997) and Germany As a Culture of Remembrance: Promises and Limits of Writing History (2006).  His new book, Foundational Pasts: An Essay in Holocaust Interpretation, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press this fall. He has also co-edited The Work of Memory with Peter Fritzsche and Between Mass Death and Individual Loss with Paul Betts and Dirk Schumann.

Abstract: Nazi anti-Semitism was all about emotions and imaginations.  And yet, there is a common image of the persecution and extermination of the Jews as a cold, administrative, industrial process epitomized by Auschwitz. Emotions may be hidden, denied, or subterranean, but they lurk somewhere: some articulated and conscious, some left unsaid and unconscious, they underlined the dynamics of anti-Jewishness throughout the Nazi regime.  The question for the historian is how to retrieve them, crafting a history of anti-Semitic emotions and culture in the Third Reich.

Location: Music Room, Levis Faculty Center, 919 West Illinois Street Urbana

 Date: Monday, April 25, 2011, 7:30 pm