Holocaust Intersections in 21st-Century Europe: An Introduction

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Gordon, RSC 
Perra, E 

Two vignettes of contemporary memory politics, from the beginning and the end of the very recent period of cultural history that interests us, help to set out in the first part of this Introduction some coordinates for the field of transversal intersections which permeate 21st-century Holocaust legacies and which this special issue of Quest sets out to explore. The first vignette focusses on a strange conjunction at the turn of the millennium between two museum projects, one of them at least obliquely Holocaust-related, both forced to negotiate across fraught transcommunal cultural divides and to relate difficult parallel, convergent and divergent histories. The second picks out an instant, a transient flashpoint from the rolling news media of summer 2016, at which the sites, values and language of Holocaust memory were used to confront, in awkward but powerful ways, immediately contemporary anxieties and atrocities. Following these, the Introduction will move on to address the larger field of intersection between the terms, usages and scholarship of the Holocaust and genocide, including its often problematic aspects. Its aim is to set the stage and provide a framework for the six ‘intersectional’ essays that follow.

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