Next Meeting: December 9th

We have one more meeting coming up before the Christmas break. We will be meeting on Monday, December 9th at 6:30pm – 8pm at King’s College London, Strand campus, room S2.39. As ever, all are welcome and snacks and drinks will be provided!

Victoria Grace Walden (PhD student, Queen Mary University of London) will be talking to us on ‘The implications of the non/human as Other in Holocaust films’.

Here is an abstract of her paper: There are a number of Holocaust films which represent our inability to fully comprehend the years 1933-1945 in European history by abstracting the human body. Using a phenomenological framework, influenced by the work of Vivian Sobchack and Laura U.Mark, I will investigate the replacement of human bodies with non-organic objects and the use of cinematic techniques to turn the human body into object in Kornblumenblau and Zyklon Portrait. Cognitive film theory teaches us we connect emotionally with human forms on screen; as we follow their stories and get “up-close” we sympathise with them. Neuroscience research suggests we mirror the emotions of others, thus when we see happiness we reflect happiness back. But how do we relate to films where human bodies are abstracted – where we do not see the straight-forward “characters” of cognitive theory? I will explore why these Holocaust films disturb our relationship with screen bodies and how this relates to ethical issues of Holocaust representation.

As we only have one paper this time, we will also be discussing a short chapter: Georges Didi-Huberman, ‘Similar, Dissimilar, Survivor’, in Images in Spite of All: Four Photographs from Auschwitz (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), pp. 41-47.

The photographs that Didi-Huberman discusses in this chapter can be found in the gallery on this wikipedia page:

One of the films that Victoria will be discussing is Zyklon Portrait, which can be watched on youtube:

We will circulate a copy of this chapter among our mailinglist. If you do not have a copy please email us at, and we will gladly send you the reading material.

We hope to see you on December 9th!


About beingnonhuman

Being Non/Human is an interdisciplinary discussion group aimed at postgraduates and early career researchers. The group was set up and is run by Sophia Wilson and Lydia Zeldenrust. Our group is funded by the English departments of King’s College London and Queen Mary, University of London. View all posts by beingnonhuman

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