Research

Working at the crossroads of media studies, literary studies, sociology, and politics, I read testimony—whether legal, religious, or artistic—as a sophisticated, audience-oriented speech act. My book project, a manuscript titled After the Fact: Encounters in Holocaust Testimony, examines Holocaust testimonial practices in an archive of experimental graphic novels, films, and literary memoirs. I argue that these works stage the mediatic and sociohistorical conditions of their production, and in the process overturn some of the hallmark conventions of testimony—namely, coherence, consistency, and credibility. Through such innovations these works preserve the authenticity of their narratives, while also revealing the contradictory demands that are always inevitably caught up in the act of bearing witness. My study intervenes in ongoing and emerging discussions about personal and collective acts of remembrance, attending closely to the ways in which hegemonic discourse shapes the creation and transmission of knowledge. The archival holdings at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, and The Institute for Visual History and Education at the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation provided the historical sources for my study of testimony. Articles based on it are forthcoming in French Forum and a special issue of Etudes Francophones.