History, Memory and Mass Atrocity
The book's main theme is the interpretation of the Holocaust and genocide in historiography, philosophy and the contemporary culture of commemoration. Running through the essays is an attempt to understand the Holocaust's relationship to 'modernity'; the need to find ways of understanding genocide through apparently 'non-rational' forms of explanation (especially derived from anthropology); and the desirability of relating the Holocaust to other instances of genocide. The book investigates the ways in which individual thinkers (Malinowski, Arendt, Bataille, Perec, Ricoeur) can help us conceptualise the Holocaust, and also deals with many of the major themes of Holocaust and Genocide Studies in recent years: problems of handling testimony; problems of erecting monuments and museums; the representability of the Holocaust through texts, photographs, monuments and museums; the possibility of understanding why individuals take part in genocide; and the relationship of the Holocaust to colonial genocide. Contains previously inaccessible essays. The book is arranged into four sections: interpretations of the origins and nature of the Holocaust; studies of individual thinkers' responses to the Holocaust; questions of representation and commemoration; and understanding genocide.