Profiel

Susanne C. Knittel is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University. She holds a PhD in Italian and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, New York (2011). In her research, she explores questions of memory, commemoration, and cultural amnesia; the figure of the perpetrator and the politics of memory; and the relationship between memory studies, disability studies, and posthumanism.

She is particularly interested in the interaction of literature and other cultural media as vehicles of both majority and minority memory at the local, national, and transnational level. Her book, The Historical Uncanny: Disability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory was published by Fordham University Press in January, 2015. In it, she presents a comparative analysis of post-1945 German and Italian memory culture and stages a dialogue between the fields of memory studies, disability studies, and postcolonial studies. She teaches courses on 20th and 21st century European and American literature, literary theory, and cultural memory.

Her current research project, Faces of Evil: The Figure of the Perpetrator in Contemporary Memory Culture, is supported by a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It focuses on the figure of the perpetrator in post-communist Romania and post-reunification Germany.

She is the founder of The Perpetrator Studies Network and co-organizer of the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies
 
She is currently chair of the Utrecht Young Academy.
Strategische thema's / focusgebieden
Wetenschappelijke expertises
Duitse literatuur en cultuur
Italiaanse literatuur en cultuur
culturele herinnering
perpetrator studies
posthumanist theory

The Historical Uncanny: Disability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory (Fordham UP, 2015)

Unheimliche Geschichte. Grafeneck, Triest und die Politik der Holocaust-Erinnerung (Transcript, 2017)
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Curriculum vitae Download PDF

 

 

 

 

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Sleutelpublicaties

Knittel, S.C. (2016). Autobiography, Moral Witnessing, and the Disturbing Memory of Nazi Euthanasia. In Mary Fulbrook, Stephanie Bird, Julia Wagner & Christiane Wienand (Eds.), Reverberations of Nazi Violence in Germany and Beyond: Disturbing Pasts (pp. 65-81). London: Bloomsbury Academics.

Knittel, S.C. (2014). Memory Redux: The foibe on Italian Television. Italianist, 34 (2), (pp. 170-185) (15 p.).

Knittel, S.C. (15-12-2014). The Historical Uncanny - Disability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory. (350 p.). New York: Fordham University Press.

Knittel, S.C. (2013). Beyond Testimony: Nazi-Euthanasia and the Field of Memory Studies. The Holocaust in History and Memory, 5, (pp. 85-101) (17 p.).

Alle publicaties
  2018 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2018). The Routledge Handbook of Perpetrator Studies. Routledge.
  2017 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2017). Grafeneck und das Unheimliche in der Geschichte. In Thomas Müller, Paul-Otto Schmidt-Michel & Franz Schwarzbauer (Eds.), Wohin bringt ihr uns? Die nationalsozialistische “Euthanasie.” - Beispiele der Erinnerungskultur und Memorialkunst Zwiefalten: Verlag Psychiatrie und Geschichte .
Driscoll, Kári & Knittel, Susanne C. (2017). Memory after Humanism. Parallax, 22 (4).
Knittel, S.C. (2017). Stand by Your Man - (Self-)Representations of SS-Wives after 1945.. In Christina Morina & Krijn Thijs (Eds.), Probing the Limits of Categorization - The Bystander in Holocaust History New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Knittel, S.C. (2017). Unheimliche Geschichte - Grafeneck, Triest und die Politik der Holocaust-Erinnerung. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.
  2016 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2016). Autobiography, Moral Witnessing, and the Disturbing Memory of Nazi Euthanasia. In Mary Fulbrook, Stephanie Bird, Julia Wagner & Christiane Wienand (Eds.), Reverberations of Nazi Violence in Germany and Beyond: Disturbing Pasts (pp. 65-81). London: Bloomsbury Academics.
Knittel, S.C. (2016). Memory and Repetition - Reenactment as an Affirmative Critical Practice. New German Critique
Knittel, S.C. (2016). The Ruins of Europe: Milo Rau’s Europe Trilogy and the (Re)Mediation of the Real. Frame: Tijdschrift voor Literatuurwetenschap, 29 (1), (pp. 41-59).
Knittel, S.C. (2016). Unheimliche Heimat - Triest als Erinnerungsraum. S.I.M.O.N. – Shoah: Intervention. Methods. Documentation , 3 (1), (pp. 114-127) (13 p.).
  2016 - Overige resultaten
S.C. Knittel (01-12-2016) Confronting Violent Pasts and Historical (In)Justice
S.C. Knittel (13-02-2016) Fragmente einer kulturellen Erinnerung: NS-‘Euthanasie’ und Zwangssterilisation
S.C. Knittel (22-10-2016) Man will nichts Monumentales
S.C. Knittel (21-03-2016) Memory and Repetition: Reenactment as an Affirmative Critical Practice – Perpetrator Documents
S.C. Knittel (19-05-2016) Memory, Posthumanism, and the Anthropocene
S.C. Knittel (31-08-2016) Representing Perpetrators of Mass Violence
S.C. Knittel (20-10-2016) Shallow Graves: The Politics of Perpetrator Representation
S.C. Knittel (23-06-2016) Shallow Graves: The Politics of Perpetrator Representation
S.C. Knittel (10-11-2016) Teaching about Perpetrators: Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics
S.C. Knittel (28-04-2016) Teaching about Perpetrators: Theories, Concepts, Approaches
S.C. Knittel (03-12-2016) Towards a Posthumanist Memory Studies
S.C. Knittel (15-03-2016) Why Look At Perpetrators?
  2015 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2015). Die Textur der Erinnerung: Grafeneck in der Literatur. In Peter Steinbach, Thomas Stöckle, Sibylle Thelen & Reinhold Weber (Eds.), Entrechtet - verfolgt - vernichtet. - NS-Geschichte und Erinnerungskultur im deutschen Südwesten (pp. 200-212). Stuttgart: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg.
Knittel, Susanne (29-01-2015). Review of A. Sierp, History, Memory, and Trans-European Identity. H-Soz-U-Kult (2 p.).
  2015 - Overige resultaten
S.C. Knittel (18-05-2015) Black Holes and Revelations: The Foibe on Italian Television
S.C. Knittel (22-01-2015) Book Presentation The Historical Uncanny
S.C. Knittel (28-09-2015) Bridging the Silence
S.C. Knittel (01-09-2015) Re: Perpetrators: Repetition, Reenactment, Representation
S.C. Knittel (24-09-2015) Stand by Your Man: Women in the SS-Sippengemeinschaft
S.C. Knittel (10-09-2015) Teaching about Perpetrators: Documents, Media, Representations
S.C. Knittel (16-10-2015) The Transatlantic Eugenics Movement as a Site of Memory
S.C. Knittel (23-01-2015) The Uncanny Memory of Nazi Euthanasia
S.C. Knittel (06-05-2015) The Uncanny Memory of Nazi Euthanasia
  2014 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2014). Borderline Memory Disorder - The Risiera di San Sabba and the Staging of Italian National Identity. In B Sion (Eds.), Death Tourism - Disaster Sites as Recreational Landscape (pp. 247-266) (19 p.). London: Seagull.
Knittel, S.C. (2014). Case Histories: The Legacy of Nazi Euthanasia in Recent German Heimatkrimis. In T Herzog & L Kutch (Eds.), Tatort Germany: The Curious Case of German-Language Crime Fiction (pp. 120-138) (18 p.). Rochester: Camden House.
Knittel, S.C. (2014). Memory Redux: The foibe on Italian Television. Italianist, 34 (2), (pp. 170-185) (15 p.).
Knittel, S.C. (15-12-2014). The Historical Uncanny - Disability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory. (350 p.). New York: Fordham University Press.
  2014 - Overige resultaten
S.C. Knittel (19-06-2014) “Basta con le rimozioni!” Le foibe nella televisione italiana
S.C. Knittel (19-10-2014) Literature and Testimony
S.C. Knittel (19-06-2014) Memory Redux: The foibe on Italian Television
S.C. Knittel (27-06-2014) Mnemopathographies: Crime Fiction as Vehicle for Local and (Trans)National Memory Work
S.C. Knittel (19-06-2014) Negotiating Memories on Television and in the Public Sphere: The Case of Italy
S.C. Knittel (03-07-2014) The Uncanny Memory of Nazi Euthanasia
  2013 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2013). Beyond Testimony: Nazi-Euthanasia and the Field of Memory Studies. The Holocaust in History and Memory, 5, (pp. 85-101) (17 p.).
  2013 - Overige resultaten
S.C. Knittel (17-09-2013) Constructing a Nation of Victims: The Repression of Fascism in Italian Memory
Knittel, S.C. (17-06-2013). What we talk about when we talk about perpetrators. Memory with(out) Borders.
  2011 - Overige resultaten
S.C. Knittel (19-04-2011) Vicarious Witnessing: The Memory of Nazi Euthanasia in German Post-War Literature
  2010 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2010). Bridging the Silence: Towards a Literary Memory of (Nazi) Euthanasia. In M Schillmeier & E Joshua (Eds.), Edinburgh German Yearbook Volume 4 (pp. 83-103) (21 p.). Rochester, NY: Camden House.
  2010 - Overige resultaten
Knittel, S.C. (01-04-2010). Black Holes and Revelations: The ‘Foibe’ and Triestine Literature. ACLA Conference.
Knittel, S.C. (22-04-2010). Intruding on the Present, Searching for the Past: Negotiating the Memory of Nazi Euthanasia at a German Care Facility. Death/Dark/Thanatourism.
  2009 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2009). Das Schweigen brechen: Zu einer literarischen Geschichte der NS-Euthanasie. In T Lutz (Eds.), 51. Bundesweites Gedenkstättenseminar NS-Krankenmorde – Historischer Rahmen, das Beispiel Grafeneck, Aufarbeitung 51st Bundesweites Gedenkstättenseminar NS-Krankenmorde – Historischer Rahmen, das Beispiel Grafeneck, Aufarbeitung.
Knittel, S.C. (2009). Remembering Euthanasia: Grafeneck in the Past, Present, and Future. In W Niven & C Paver (Eds.), Memorialization in Germany since 1945 (pp. 124-133) (10 p.). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  2009 - Populariserende publicaties
Knittel, S.C. (2009). NS-Euthanasie im Fernsehfilm Holocaust: Fragen zur Repräsentation und Rezeption. Gedenkstättenrundbrief, (pp. 3-10) (8 p.).
  2008 - Overige resultaten
Knittel, S.C. (07-02-2008). Learning from the Past, Teaching for the Future. Is an Interdisciplinary Field of Memory Possible?.
Knittel, S.C. (10-09-2008). Uncanny Homelands: NS Euthanasia between Remembering and Forgetting. Cultural Memory: Forgetting to Remember/Remembering to Forget.
  2006 - Overige resultaten
Knittel, S.C. (2006). F.T. Marinetti and German Expressionism: ‘Everything is Poetry!'. 2006 Romance Studies Colloquium.
  0 - Overige resultaten
S.C. Knittel () Colonial Ruin: (In)Visible Sites of Postcolonial Memory
S.C. Knittel () Memory and Repetition: Reenactment as an Affirmative Critical Practice
S.C. Knittel () The Perpetrator Paradox
S.C. Knittel () Vicarious Witnessing: Towards a More Inclusive Memory Studies

 

 

 

 

 

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NWO VENI

Faces of Evil: The Figure of the Perpetrator in Contemporary Memory Culture

01-02-2014 tot 01-02-2017

The fierce debates surrounding the publication of Jonathan Littell’s novel Les Bienveillantes in 2006 exposed a central tension in public and academic conceptions of witnessing and the Holocaust. A fictional memoir of an SS-officer, the novel was a huge success, but opinion was divided about its artistic merits and ethical implications. Is it acceptable to present a Nazi as the ideal witness to the Holocaust? Is it possible to reconcile the critical imperative to understand the motivations of historical actors with the moral imperative not to rationalise the perpetrators’ acts? Littell’s novel forms part of a broader shift in contemporary culture away from the preoccupation with trauma and victimhood and toward a more nuanced engagement with the figure of the perpetrator. The aim of this project is to provide insight into the recent emergence in contemporary culture of the figure of the perpetrator as a viable perspective on the past, and to help develop a critical vocabulary on perpetratorship that is able to respond to this current shift.

This project traces the figure of the perpetrator through post-1989 memory culture in Germany and Romania, where the joint legacies of Fascism and Communism render questions of perpetration and victimhood inherently ambiguous and complex. I analyse the role of perpetrators in literature, drama, film, and at documentary exhibitions in order to elucidate how these cultures create narratives about their own history through which they negotiate questions of complicity and collaboration in order to ascribe or disavow guilt and responsibility. Through a comparative and interdisciplinary analysis of the figure of the perpetrator across different literary and visual media in these two countries I will shed new light on how questions of perpetratorship and collaboration influence the construction of cultural identity, both at the national level and within the broader framework of European memory.

A further aim of this project is to build an interdisciplinary and transnational research network.  For more information about the network, please visit The Perpetrator Studies Network online at http://perpetratorstudies.sites.uu.nl.

 

Events Organized by The Perpetrator Studies Network 

Workshop Series: Teaching about Perpetrators

There is a growing consensus that presenting perpetrators of mass crimes as monsters or psychopaths is ultimately counterproductive, as it obscures the social, political, historical, and cultural mechanisms that enable them and inhibits an understanding of their continued relevance for today. Yet, the representation and reception of perpetrators and, more importantly, the pedagogical approaches to these figures in contemporary culture are still largely characterized by a distancing amalgamation of sensationalism on the one hand and moralistic condemnation on the other. This series of workshops examined how our contradictory attitudes toward perpetrators in society and culture can in themselves be made the object of enquiry. Furthermore, we explored the opportunities and challenges for teaching and learning about past atrocities through the figure of the perpetrator across disciplines.

Workshop 1: Teaching about Perpetrators: Documents, Media, Representations (September 10–12, 2015, Utrecht University).

Workshop 2: Teaching about Perpetrators: Theories, Concepts, Approaches (April 28-30, 2016, Utrecht University).

Workshop 3: Teaching about Perpetrators: Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics (November 10-12, 2016, Utrecht University).


International Conference: Representing Perpetrators of Mass Violence
August 31 - September 3, 2016, Utrecht University

Organizers: 

Susanne C. Knittel, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University

Ugur Ümit Üngör, Associate Professor of History at Utrecht University and Research Fellow at the Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies (NIOD) in Amsterdam

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Scott Straus (U Wisconsin, Madison)

Milo Rau, International Institute of Political Murder (http://international-institute.de)

This conference explored the questions and problems that arise in the context of the representation of perpetrators in the media, public discourse, in cultural representations, as well as in education and academic scholarship. The conference title invokes all forms of representation, including but not limited to self-representation (in social media, auto-documents, interviews, testimonies), representation in the news and the media, fictional representation (in literature, film, and the arts), legal representation (either contemporary or historically), representation in the accounts and testimonies of their victims and survivors, and representation in academic scholarship of various disciplines (including history, sociology, anthropology, political science, literary and cultural studies, media studies, philosophy, law, criminology, religious studies, etc.).

The conference also featured the English-language world premiere of The Woman at His Side, a staged reading that explores the complicity of wives of SS officers in the crimes of their husbands, and a screening of Milo Rau’s film Hate Radio, which investigates the role of “Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines” (RTLM) in the Rwandan genocide.

Main research interests include: Memory and trauma in literature from the 20th century to the present, text-image relationships, literature and architecture, comparative media studies, cultural studies, Modernism and the metropolis, Futurism and Expressionism, disability studies, posthumanist theory.  

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Laatst bijgewerkt op 25-09-2017