CHR Fellow Talk: Associate Professor Steve Barnes (History and Art History), “Women’s Experiences of the Concentration Camp: Thinking about a Global Comparative History”

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST

CHR Fellow Talk: Associate Professor Steve Barnes (History and Art History), “Women’s Experiences of the Concentration Camp: Thinking about a Global Comparative History”

My CHR project is to write a synthetic global history of women’s daily lives in the concentration camp, a key tool used by the modern state to control and often dispose of populations. The project starts from the hypothesis that women’s experiences of daily life as inmates of the various historical instances of the concentration camp are key to understanding a gendered reconfiguration of concepts like combatant, security risk, suspect population, and racial or social contamination that enables and enacts a modern politics of population control, forced relocation, social engineering, and/or excisionary violence. The project will grapple with the use of the concentration camp in both authoritarian and democratic regimes, and what that tells us about the tenuousness of the presumed distinction between authoritarianisms and democracies. It asks important questions of the degree to which prisoner agency continues to operate under conditions of extreme control and what that agency reveals about the uses and the limits of the concentration camp as an instrument of disposal. Finally, the project asks how and why this quintessentially modern form of population control emerged when it did and why the control of women was at its heart.

The Zoom link is the same for all CHR Residential Fellow Talks and will be circulated weekly on Mondays and the day before each fellows' talk in the CHR newsletter.

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