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in popular culture, flms and novels. The
panel then turned its attention to this
particular perpetrator and the mitigating
(or not) factors of her guilt. Panelist Cas-
sandra Garcia, also an Atlantis alumna,
discussed the connections between illit-
eracy and crime, and posed questions to
the audience as to how we might under-
stand this relationship in moral terms.
From there, lawyer and Presidential Man-
agement Fellow Jessica Kellie (Atlantis
alumna), turned the group's attention to
the limitations of law in such cases. De-
bate over legal culpability and morality as
well as how these two intersect, proved to
be the most engaging point of discussion
that evening. Tyler Underwood spoke on
cinematography and introduced some
discussion questions on the benefit of
Hollywood Holocaust flms. Panelist Alex
Coffman (Atlantis alumna) discussed the
public history observations of the "sec-
ond generation" Germans and how they
were portrayed in the flm as well as the
“circumstance versus choice” debate in as-
sessing and portraying history.
As the scheduled time for the panel's end
approached, both the audience and speak-
ers were eager to continue the discussion,
lamenting the speed with which time had
passed. While the fruitful and interesting
discussion inevitably had to end, it is cer-
tain that each person in attendance left
with new questions and curiosities about
the ways in which history, culture, poli-
tics and fction infuence, reinforce, and
create one another.
“I found the event very interesting and
also useful for my present studies, since
O
n 7 t h o f F eb rua r y 2014 ,
OCEANS organised the event
"Genocide, Perpetrators, and
Popular Culture" in Morgan-
town, West Virginia. Follow-
ing an introduction of the
film by current Atlantis student Tyler
Underwood, the audience and panelists
screened the 2008 flm The Reader by di-
rector Stephen Daldry.
“Already the first minutes of the mov-
ie involved us with its story line. Post-
World-War II Germany’s society was re-
covering morally after the devastating
war. The story of a simple boy and a lady
shocked everyone in the room. “In silence
we fnished watching the last minutes of
the movie” says Dovydas Rogulis, one of
the participants.
After the flm, the group took a few
moments to gather themselves, in the
wake of an emotionally charged and, for
some, shocking conclusion. With the aid
of refreshments, the panel and audience
re-assembled to sit down and unpack the
emotional, legal, visual, political, and his-
torical implications of the story. Discus-
sions began as Abigail Miller, an Atlantis
alumna and current Ph.D. student at the
Strassler Center for Holocaust and Geno-
cide Studies at Clark University, brought
up the issue of problems in representing
a female Holocaust perpetrator, some-
thing not often seen in popular culture.
There was a lively discussion surrounding
the effect of gender norms and cultural
expectations on when and how female
perpetrators of genocide are portrayed
North America presents
“Genocide, Perpetrators, and
Popular Culture: A Conversation”
A B I G A I L
M I L L E R
O C E A N S N E T W O R K ,
U . S . A .
A T L A N T I S P R O G R A M M E
E U — U S A
the topic under discussion suits with my
own research very well. I believe that the
film was well chosen, since it showed
the above mentioned problems in a new
light and made the audience think about
the complexity of the Second World War
memory. Organisers of the event had do-
ne incredible work gathering interesting
speakers who were able to engage the
audience in the discussions. It was also
very pleasant to meet the other OCEANS
members and to get to know new people
with whom I share similar interests” says
Laura Roop, one of the participants.
The organisers aim to inspire new thought
and engage both academic and non-aca-
demic audience; now there are hopes that
another such event may be organised in
the near future.
OCEANS IN MOTION
51
MAGAZ I NE OF THE
OCEANS NETWORK

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