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Genocide and Sexual Violence, A Panel Discussion

Posted by on Sunday, October 4, 2015 in Past Events.

Shame-filled and stigma-fearing silences, sexism, and the nonrecognition of sexual violence as more and other than violent sex have contributed to the marginalization if not outright omission of the occurrences and functions of sexual violence in genocides from Nazi-occupied Europe to 1990s Bosnia, from 1970s Cambodia to Darfur and Eastern Congo in the new millennium. This conceptual failure has contributed to the perpetuation of both unaddressed past trauma and possible future trauma. This panel is part of the international efforts to end the silence and to prevent further victimization.

Sonja Hedgepeth
Sonja Hedgepeth is Professor of German at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), where she has taught courses on the Holocaust since 1989. She is the co-editor, with Rochelle G. Saidel, of Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust (Brandeis U. Press, 2010). Using testimonies, Nazi documents, memoirs, and artistic representations, this anthology by an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars addresses topics such as rape, forced prostitution, assaults on childbearing, artistic representations of sexual violence, and psychological insights into survivor trauma. These subjects have been relegated to the edges or completely left out of Holocaust history, and this book aims to shift perceptions and promote new discourse.

Elisa von Joeden-Forgey
Elisa von Joeden-Forgey teaches on the comparative history of genocide at the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research focuses on the ways in which perpetrators use family institutions and roles to torture their victims before killing them. These atrocities have occurred in cases of conflict that are not generally believed to constitute genocide, such as the Japanese sex slavery system in World War II and the recent war in Sierra Leone, and can help us identify genocidal aspects to conflicts that are not otherwise thought to be genocidal in nature. Her most recent publication is “Gender and the Future of Genocide Studies and Prevention,” Genocide Studies and Prevention 7,1 (April 2012): 89-107.

Jocelyn Kelly
Jocelyn Kelly is the director of the Women in War Program for Harvard University’s Humanitarian Initiative’s (HHI), where she designs and implements projects to examine issues relating to gender, peace, and security in fragile states. She has given briefings related to gender and security to the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. State Department, USAID, the World Bank, OFDA, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. Kelly’s international work has focused on understanding the health needs of vulnerable populations in Eastern and Central Africa and has included working with Uganda Human Rights commission to launch the first office in Africa promoting the Right to Health.

Edward Kissi
Edward Kissi is Associate Professor of Africana Studies at the University of South Florida (USF). His research focuses on the twentieth-century economic and diplomatic history of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa; history of US foreign relations with Africa since the 20th Century, and the comparative history of genocide and human rights. He is the author of Revolution and Genocide in Ethiopia and Cambodia (2006), and has published a number of articles and book chapters on genocide, famine, international relief aid and US foreign policy toward Africa in the Cold War period in notable books and peer-reviewed journals. In 2009, Kissi wrote “The Holocaust as a Guidepost for Genocide Detection and Prevention in Africa” for the United Nations’ Discussion Papers Journal. He has since been involved in UNESCO’s ongoing initiatives on Holocaust and Genocide Education in Africa.

Yolanda Redero (panel moderator)
Yolanda Redero is Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Vanderbilt, and the director of Vanderbilt’s Family Law and Domestic Violence Clinic and former chair of the Provost’s Task Force Against Sexual Violence. Before joining Vanderbilt’s law faculty, she was an Assistant State Attorney for Miami-Dade County, Florida, where she served as Assistant Chief of the Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Unit. In 2006, Professor Redero was a member of an interdisciplinary team of Vanderbilt researchers that visited the Ecuadorian Andes. Professor Redero focused on indigenous people’s access to justice relating to domestic violence in Ecuador.

Genocide and Sexual Violence, A Panel Discussion will take place on November 3, 2015 7:00 pm, Commons Center MPR 235/237 as part of the Holocaust Lecture Series at Vanderbilt.

Now in its 38th year, Vanderbilt’s annual Holocaust Lecture Series is the longest-running program of its kind at any university in the U.S. This year’s theme is gender and genocide which will explore how the multifaceted entanglements of gender and genocide, as they manifested themselves during the Holocaust, provide insight into some of the most salient and challenging issues in contemporary society.

(From by Tyler Coles)

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