Abstract

Holocaust video testimony, first archived in the United States at the Yale University Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Video Testimonies in 1982, is a methodology developed and refined by Dori Laub and Geoffrey Hartman. Laub and Hartman represent the pioneering generation of intellectuals who took up the task of archiving first-person testimony for the purpose of educating those who did not experience the Holocaust directly. Oral history, a discipline first developed in the late 1940s, also archives eyewitness accounts for future use by scholars but developed its methodology with little interest in how the genre of testimony, represented by the Yale Project, contributes to historical knowledge. Narrative medicine, a more recent discipline that also accords meaning to the value of storytelling and dialogue, has also developed in parallel to video testimony and oral history but locates the struggle of telling in the body. The purpose of this essay, based on an oral history interview conducted with Dori Laub on the methods of video testimony in June of 2005, is to explore the synergistic potential of these three disciplines in enlarging the ethical promise of each to reduce the impact of indifference to the suffering of others. It is also a meditation on what the respective fields have to offer one another, which is significant and timely as we endeavor to refine our methods of listening in order to combat the fatigue of living in a time of mass-mediated atrocity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6571
Print ISSN
0278-9671
Pages
pp. 266-282
Launched on MUSE
2006-01-25
Open Access
No
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