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Holocaust Scholar James E. Young Speaks at New Paltz Arts Conference

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09/06/2001

NEW PALTZ -- Professor James E. Young, renowned Holocaust author and scholar, will present a keynote lecture titled Holocaust Memory and Counter-memory: The End of the Monument as part of the 2001 Arts Now Conference at SUNY New Paltz on Friday, September 21. The lecture is held in Lecture Center room 102 from 12 noon to 1:00 pm. Entrance to the lecture is free and the public is welcome to attend.

The conference, "Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence," is an ideal setting for Young's slide presentation, which addresses the complicated nature of memorials, particularly those dedicated to victims of genocide. Combined with other conference keynotes, exhibitions, panels and performances, all occurring September 20-22, Young's lecture brings attention to issues including the importance of individual and community responsibility, emotional and intellectual responses to violence, and the necessity of witnessing and testimony. Detailed information about the conference is available on the Web at www.newpaltz.edu/arts_now.

Young is a leading authority on the public memory of the Holocaust. In recent years, he has given hundreds of public lectures on forms of national remembrance of the Holocaust through art, architecture, and the establishment of museums. In 1997, he was invited to the Bundestag to address Germany's Holocaust memorial issues, and later was appointed to the five-member Findungskommission for Germany's Holocaust memorial. The only foreigner and only Jew on the panel, Young was active in guiding the memorial through the planning process.

Young's lecture explores the ways in which the current generation of German artists challenge the conventional premises of the monument through counter-memorial installations. In so doing, they formally articulate Germany's double-edged Holocaust memorial conundrum: How does a nation reunite itself on a bedrock memory of its crimes? How does a nation commemorate a mass-murder perpetrated in its name and make this event part of its national memorial legacy?

Professor Young currently teaches English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he is the Chair of the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. He has written several books on the Holocaust including Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust (1988), The Texture of Memory (1993, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, 1994) and At Memory's Edge: After-images of the Holocaust Memorials in Contemporary Art and Architecture (2000).

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"Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence," the third of five planned biennial Arts Now Conferences, is scheduled for September 20-22, 2001. Conceived with an objective to explore issues of contemporary art and culture, each conference provides a reflective occasion to look at timely issues in the arts and contemporary culture through an interdisciplinary lens. Like its predecessors, "Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence" includes featured presentations and conversations by noted authors, artists and scholars; papers and other contributions selected from a national call for proposals; and exhibitions and performances.

Keynote presentations by playwright Anna Deavere Smith, author and historian Michael Bellisiles, poet Carolyn Forché, and artists Bradley McCallum and Carl Pope are augmented by performances including Marisol by José Rivera, and Delirium for Two by Eugene Ionesco. Numerous exhibitions and lectures will occur on the SUNY New Paltz campus before and after the conference, effectively promoting a broad dialogue on the subject of violence and the arts.

SUNY New Paltz is a university of nearly 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students located in the Mid-Hudson Valley halfway between New York City and Albany. SUNY New Paltz is committed to providing high quality, affordable education to students from all social and economic backgrounds. For more information about the university, visit its web site at http://www.newpaltz.edu.