Questions of Gender and Sexuality in Interviewer Trainings and Holocaust Survivor Testimonies



January 31, 2023 at 12:00 PM Pacific Time

A public lecture by Carli Snyder (PhD candidate in History, City University of New York Graduate Center)
2022-2023 USC Shoah Foundation Robert J. Katz Research Fellow in Genocide Studies

Organized by the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research and the USC Shoah Foundation

“Does the sex of the interviewer make any difference?” “Do men and women interview differently?” Interviewer trainees asked these questions in 1994. Based on her analysis of materials in the USC Shoah Foundation’s institutional archives and her comparative research with testimonies, Carli Snyder will discuss her findings about the evolution of how the USC Shoah Foundation trained interviewers to handle issues of gender, sexuality, and sexual violence while conducting interviews and how interviewers implemented their training.

In the talk, Snyder will also offer a comparative analysis of a number of USC Shoah Foundation testimonies from the 1990s with women who were also interviewed by feminist Holocaust scholar Joan Ringelheim in the early 1980s. By studying the differences or similarities in interviews with the same women recorded over ten years apart, this approach will help to highlight the impact of time-specific interviewer-interviewee dynamics and what memories interviewees chose to disclose during specific interviews. Snyder will also discuss how the USC Shoah Foundation’s partner organizations have asked survivors of other genocides and mass crimes about these topics.

Carli Snyder is the 2022-2023 USC Shoah Foundation Robert J. Katz Research Fellow in Genocide Studies. She is a PhD Candidate in History at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her dissertation, entitled “‘The Flesh of the Facts’: Toward a Feminist Holocaust Consciousness,” analyzes the political and intellectual development of feminist Holocaust scholarship in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, with a central focus on the career of Joan Ringelheim. Her research has also been funded by grants from the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study of Harvard University and the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University. Read more about Carli Snyder here.

Lecture image is a behind-the-scenes photograph of the recording of Miriam Katin’s testimony. She was interviewed by Nancy Fisher for the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.