In this ongoing event series, the Library will invite speakers to explore the connections between genocide in the twentieth and twenty-first century, European colonial projects and modern-day racism and antisemitism.
In the late nineteenth century, pseudo-scientific ideas about racial ‘fitness’ and ‘health’, and about the supposed superiority and inferiority of ‘races’ provided justifications and impetus for European colonialism projects in Asia and Africa, as well as for antisemitic and anti-Gypsy prejudice and policies. Theories about racial ‘degeneracy’ fuelled hostility against gay men, lesbians and other marginalised groups. Notions of racial hierarchy structured and infused the British Empire, and eugenicist ideas and practices were widespread in Europe and the United States. Some of these ideas manifested themselves in racist scientific research directed against colonial subjects, as well as in violence, oppression and even genocide, for example, in German South-West-Africa (today Namibia). Many historians argue that in the twentieth century, the Nazis’ racist genocidal ideas can be understood as to some extent a development from Germany’s imperial past.
In the twenty-first century, antisemitic conspiracies have gained new life through online dissemination, eugenicist ideas once again have an influence on the far right, and questions are asked of how Britain remembers and misremembers its colonial past. Understanding and reflecting upon the historical roots and antecedents for these developments, and the calamitous results they can produce, is therefore of critical importance.
Racism, Antisemitism, Colonialism and Genocide Event Series:
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Missed out on one of our events? Recordings are available below.
A Virtual Conversation: ‘Race Science’ and Eugenics in Historical and Contemporary Context
With Angela Saini, Professor Marius Turda and Dr Joe Mulhall. Wednesday 22 July 2020.
This event explored the history of ‘race science’ and eugenics, and its connections to nationalist, far-right and fascist politics in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
The speakers at this online event have all conducted research into the history and current manifestation of racist and eugenist ideas, and into the history of fascism and its status in the 21st century and explored these complex issues in this virtual conversation.
A Virtual Conversation: Genocide: Concepts and Problem
With Dr Becky Jinks and Professor Dirk Moses. Thursday 3 September 2020.
In this online conversation, Dr Becky Jinks and Professor Dirk Moses discussed evolving questions and debates in the field of genocide studies, with particular focus on the semantics and politics of naming and representing genocides before and after the Holocaust. Their discussion examined the legacy of Raphael Lemkin’s work and the limits of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
An Online Conversation on Racial Antisemitism
With Professor David Feldman and Professor Stefanie Schüler-Springorum. Wednesday 21 October 2020.
In this discussion, Professor David Feldman and Professor Stefanie Schüler-Springorum explored the origins and history of racial conceptions of antisemitism, and reflected on the significance today of this form of antisemitism.
As concerns grow about a resurgence of antisemitic beliefs today, and in the context of current debates about race and racism, this is a timely discussion on the history and significance of this form of antisemitism.
A Virtual Talk: New works on British Colonial Violence
With Michelle Gordon and Michael Taylor. Tuesday 26 January 2021.
This event marked the recent publication of two important contributions which challenge traditional understandings of the extent of colonial violence and the process of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire.
Virtual Event: Forced Labour and Genocide: Then and Now
With Johannes-Dieter Steinert, Adrian Zenz, Rahima Mahmut and Joe Collins. Wednesday 5 May 2021.
In this event our speakers discussed the issue of forced labour as a means of persecution and genocide used during the Nazi-era and more recently in China today.
Virtual Talk: German Colonialism and its Aftermaths
With Jürgen Zimmerer, Sara Pugach and Adam A. Blackler. Thursday 6 May 2021.
This virtual event reflected upon the connections between German colonialism and later periods and its impact on ex-colonies and Germany in the twentieth century and today. The connections between this period of German colonialism and the Nazis’ racist imperialism were also explored: what were the continuities of personnel or ideology or practice? And what is the significance of these connections?
Virtual Panel Discussion: Antisemitism, Race and Violence in the Russian Empire
With Dr Polly Zavadivker, Dr Brendan McGeever and Dr Andrew Sloin. Monday 13 December 2021.This virtual event considered the significance of racism and antisemitism in Imperial Russia and examined the legacies of these acts of ethnic mass violence during the Russian Civil War and in Nazi Germany.
Virtual Book Launch: Colonial Paradigms of Violence: Comparative Analysis of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Killing
With Thomas Kühne, Rachel O’Sullivan, Michelle Gordon, Aleksandra Szczepan and Dorota Glowacka.
The Wiener Holocaust Library and the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London, were delighted to host this event as part of our of Holocaust and Genocide Partnership activities.
Suggested Further Reading:
- Empire, Colony, Genocide: conquest, occupation, and subaltern resistance in world history by Professor Dirk Moses.
- Colonialism and Genocide edited by Professor Dirk Moses and Professor Dan Stone.
- Genocide and settler society : frontier violence and stolen indigenous children in Australian history edited by Mohamed Adhikari.
- Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America edited by Alexander Laban Hinton, Andrew Woolford and Jeff Benvenuto.
- Memorializing colonial genocide in Britain: the case of Tasmania by Tom Lawson.
- The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania by Tom Lawson.
- Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini.
- Modernism and Eugenics by Professor Marius Turda.
- Historicizing Race by Professor Marius Turda and Maria Sophia Quine.
- The International Alt-Right: Fascism for the 21st Century? by Patrik Hermansson, David Lawrence, Joe Mulhall and Simon Murdoch