Two new WRoCAH Networks awarded

Two new WRoCAH White Rose networks have been awarded to start in October 2017.

Each Network has three PhD studentships attached, one at each of the three White Rose Universities and co-supervision of students across institutions, forming a new network with three separate projects researching under a common theme.

The new Networks awarded are:

The Future of Holocaust Memory – Network Lead: Professor Sue Vice, University of Sheffield

Credit: AFP

Such recent events as the death of the Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, and the ‘last great war crimes trial’ of John Demjanjuk, typify the changes that are taking place in how the Holocaust is remembered and represented as it passes out of living memory and into history. At the same time, contemporary technological developments enable new means of transmitting and preserving survivor testimony, while recent Holocaust historiography has drawn on newly accessible archives that allow for research outside the conventional focus on the camps and ghettos of Nazi-occupied Poland. This network will analyse the implications of these changes for the ways in which Holocaust memory is conceived and taught, in relation to practices and locations where different histories overlap. These will include examining the potential offered by digital and virtual memory; former colonial nations where memories of different kinds of atrocity intersect; and border areas in which legacies and identifications are contested. The network is timely in terms of its overall theme, and in relation to contemporary events. Issues of trauma, the dangers of racism and the concept of nation are at the forefront of current government and funding council concerns, in the context of a post-EU Britain and the international refugee crisis.

These areas draw on the complementary expertise of the six supervisors, who are specialists in Holocaust testimony, music and theatre, French Holocaust history, literature and film, twentieth-century European history and Holocaust literature. The wide range of sources and material available and the comparative nature of each case-study means that students can develop projects following their individual strengths and interests.

Imagining and Representing Species Extinction – Network Lead: Dr Stefan Skrimshire, University of Leeds

Bufo periglenes, the Golden Toad, was last recorded on May 15, 1989

Imagining and representing species extinction – both currently witnessed and projected into the future, including human extinction – has become a powerful social and cultural discourse, the study of which is the domain of no single discipline. This proposed network brings together researchers in environmental conservation, English literature, interactive media, management, philosophy and religious studies in order to contribute critically to the cross-disciplinary study of extinction in all its different biological forms and socio-cultural functions today.

Whilst historically extinction has evoked the disappearance of iconic species of animals and plants, it is just as likely to be discussed today in the context of macro-scale considerations of global ecological crisis and the interdependence of human and nonhuman life in an era of anthropogenic climate change. From reporting on climate tipping points (which include rapid biodiversity loss), suggestions that we are living in the ‘Anthropocene epoch’ and an associated ‘sixth mass extinction event’, to a recurrent ‘eco-apocalypse’ and ‘animal apocalypse’ theme in cinematic and literary narratives, the studies of human and non-human life have become radically intertwined. Greater input is thus urgently needed from arts and humanities to work alongside, as well as to critically engage with, the scientific discoveries and ethical imperatives of contemporary wildlife conservation studies. Alongside a concern with how and why we value and protect biodiversity, individual species and ecosystems, our network will pose questions that have been hampered by disciplinary boundaries. For example: in what sense is extinction a harm, and to what or whom? Why do people lament the loss of some species and not others? How do they communicate the significance of that loss at an individual and / or collective level? How do people connect the loss of nonhuman species with fears of human extinction?

The network unites scholars who are at different stages of their career (although extensive experience is provided across the team), offering an excellent opportunity for the study of extinction from different disciplinary perspectives.

The studentships associated with these Networks will be advertised shortly.