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Dr. Paul B. Jaskot

Mapping the Architecture at Auschwitz: Culture and Genocide in the SS Ambitions for the East

November 30, 2015

Paul B. Jaskot is the 2014-2016 Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (National Gallery of Art) in Washington, D.C. and a Professor of Art History at DePaul University. His research focuses on the cultural history of National Socialist Germany and its postwar impact on art and architecture. More recently, Jaskot has also been exploring how digital methods ask new questions in Holocaust Studies. As part of this collaborative work, he contributed (as co-author with Anne Kelly Knowles) to the recent anthology Geographies of the Holocaust with several essays on digital mapping and spatial and architectural questions of the HolocaustProfessor Jaskot’s books include The Architecture of Oppression: The SS, Forced Labor, and the Nazi Monumental Building EconomyBeyond Berlin: Twelve Postwar German Cities Confront the Nazi Past (co-edited with Gavriel Rosenfeld); and The Nazi Perpetrator: Postwar German Art and the Politics of the Right. Professor Jaskot co-chaired the 2014 Lessons and Legacies of the Holocaust conference, and this November he is giving the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Annual Lecture at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to his research, he was President of the College Art Association, 2008-2010.

Jaskot Poster 3

“Mapping the Architecture at Auschwitz: Culture and Genocide in the SS Ambitions for the East,” Monday, November 30, at 5 p.m.                                                                                                                              Lefevre Hall 106.                                                                                                                                                                    The lecture is free and open to the public with a reception to follow at the Wine Cellar & Bistro, 505 Cherry St. 

Few sites are as historically charged as the SS concentration camp at Auschwitz. Here the Nazi military imperialist drive to the east was supported through the grotesquely intertwined goals of forced labor and the genocide of the European Jews. And yet it is not a site that we often consider in architectural terms, even though its staff of architects were young and ambitious men who came from some of the top schools in central Europe (including the Bauhaus). How do we reconcile cultural goals with genocide, architecture with the Holocaust? This talk argues that digital mapping methods in particular help us to answer this question by extending the analysis of architecture at Auschwitz in new ways. Through the use of historical GIS, we can see the design and construction of the buildings at different temporal and spatial scales that alter important aspects of accepted historical analysis. Art history and digital methods thus combine to give us a more complete and analytical understanding of the Holocaust.

There is also to be a Colloquium on the Digital Humanities:
November 30, 2015 -­ 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.
Memorial Union, Stottler III
For MU faculty and graduate students. Lunch will be provided. Seating is limited. For more information & to reserve a seat, please contact James van Dyke (vandykej@missouri.edu) by November 20.

This colloquium explores issues in the humanities raised by digital visualization methods, with a particular focus on mapping. After a brief opening presentation on the history of Digital Humanities and the significance of mapping applications, we will explore in discussion two case studies (one historical, one art historical) that highlight how spatial visualizations have helped to problematize our analysis of the past. Special emphasis will be placed on how visualization, distinct from other methods in the Digital Humanities, offers a mode of research that helps to address especially art historical and other humanities questions that derive from spatial problems.