Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

June 6, 2005

Genocide Expert, Whitworth Lindaman Chair to Lead Faculty Seminar
at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Washington, D.C.

Sixty years after the end of World War II, when approximately six million Jews were killed in German concentration camps, the Holocaust continues to be researched, documented, debated and commemorated, most recently in the May 10 inauguration of the $35-million Berlin memorial and the May release of Academy Award-winning German filmmaker Volker Schlondorff's movie "The Ninth Day," which is based on the true story of a Catholic priest imprisoned in Dachau.

As genocide continues in the world today, most notably in Darfur, Sudan, visitors to the Berlin memorial will reflect on the horrors wrought in Germany during the war and moviegoers will watch the portrayal of an imprisoned priest's struggle between religion and politics. And social scientists from colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada will gather June 8-21 in Washington, D.C., to learn innovative ways to teach Holocaust studies and help prepare a new generation of students to engage in international efforts to end collective violence.

Twenty-one faculty representing disciplines including philosophy, sociology, anthropology, ethnic studies and government will participate in the seminar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

"There is an intriguing nexus between the Holocaust and the social sciences that has too often been neglected - both in research and teaching," says seminar coordinator and leader James Waller, professor of psychology and Edward B. Lindaman Chair at Whitworth College. "The seminar will provide training in Holocaust education and research to social scientists who are interested either in developing a course specifically on the Holocaust or in incorporating the Holocaust into a previously existing course."

In light of the unfulfilled vow made after World War II that genocide would never occur again, the seminar will also focus on issues of comparative genocide, suggesting that the universality of the potential for genocide is not confined to culture, place or time, Waller says.

"The disturbing reality is that genocide continues to happen again and again," Waller says. "In addition to the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, 11 other countries have significantly high-risk factors associated with genocide, and it's very likely that at least a few of these will erupt into full-scale genocidal events in the near future."

The June seminar will consist of lectures on Holocaust history from the perspectives of both the perpetrator and the victim; participant-facilitated discussions on Holocaust-based research in the social sciences; and roundtable discussions of effective strategies for integrating Holocaust history into social science courses. Discussions will include such topics as individual/collective trauma, perpetrator-victim-bystander studies, inter-ethnic relations, comparative violence/genocide, gender roles, and the influence of anti-Semitism. Participants will also conduct independent research in the center's library and archives.

Joining Waller as seminar leaders are Christopher Browning, the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council's Academic Committee; and Jane Caplan, university lecturer in modern history, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford.

Waller is the author of Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (Oxford University Press, 2002). He is currently finishing the final edits for the revised and updated second edition of Becoming Evil, which will be released in 2006 by Oxford University Press. The paperback edition of the first edition will be released this July.

Browning's publications include Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 and Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Caplan's publications include Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World and Reevaluating the Third Reich.

Waller is preparing to write his next book about the Holocaust and international law and is editing a volume on genocide and the Christian world. He is the founder of Whitworth's Prejudice Across America Study Program, which gives students firsthand exposure to the corrosive effects of racism and to the work being done by individuals and groups to bring about racial reconciliation. He will lead a new study program, Religion, Peace and Conflict in Northern Ireland, in January 2006.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls more than 2,400 students in 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Jim Waller, Lindaman Chair and psychology professor, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4424 or jwaller@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

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