Theses Doctoral

Continental Drifters: Holocaust Memory, Decolonization, and Postwar Migration to Europe

Thakkar, Sonali

This dissertation investigates the relationship between the cultural memory of the Holocaust and postwar migration to Europe from the Global South. I argue that the European postcolonial and migrant literature I read claims the history of the Jewish Question and Holocaust memory as critical resources for Europe's new migrants and diasporic communities. In these late-twentieth-century and contemporary works, the Holocaust represents the failures of assimilation, religious tolerance, and minority rights in Europe. This literature's attentiveness to Holocaust memory, I show, critically disrupts both the strategic forgetting of the Holocaust and the simultaneous repurposing of its memory as instructive of the dangers of failed recognition in postwar Western European democracies. I argue that the works I examine in this dissertation situate Holocaust memory as an aspect of a migrant counter-pedagogy: the residues of past violence reveal the insufficiency of liberal strategies for the management of difference, and signal the danger of current versions of racialist thought. Europe's violence against the Jews thus functions as a paradigm for the limits of diasporic life and the possibilities of cohabitation in contemporary Europe.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Thesis Advisors
Hirsch, Marianne
Slaughter, Joseph R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 2, 2012