Monday, November 2, 2015

University of Chicago Historian to Lecture at World War II Museum

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Join Us!

What: A lecture by Tara Zahra 

"Emigration, Ethnic Cleansing or Humanitarianism: The Campaign to Resettle Eastern European Jews in the 1930s,"

When: Thursday, Nov. 5, 5 p.m. Reception to follow.

Where: National World War II Museum, 945 Magazine St., New Orleans

RSVP: This program is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Ensure your spot by RSVPing online or over the phone at 504-528-1944 ext. 412.

University of Chicago historian Tara Zahra will deliver the 15th George G. Windell Memorial Lecture in European History on Thursday, Nov. 5 at The National World War II Museum. Her lecture is entitled, “Emigration, Ethnic Cleansing or Humanitarianism: The Campaign to Resettle Eastern European Jews in the 1930s.” A reception will take place at 5 p.m. with the lecture to follow at 6 p.m.

The Windell Lecture is sponsored by the University of New Orleans Department of History and The National World War II Museum.

Zahra is a professor of East European History at the University of Chicago and a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called “genius” grant. The fellowships aim to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual and professional inclinations.” Zahra is a historian who challenges the development of the concepts of nation, family and ethnicity and painting a more integrative picture of 20th century European history. With conceptual and empirical rigor, Zahra’s writings combine broad socio-historical analysis with extensive archival work across a wide range of locales.

Her first book, “Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands, 1900¬–1948,” examines the 20th century cultural politics of German and Czech nationalism with children as the centerpiece, demonstrating that the changing concept of who owns children was essential to the definition of national identities.

In “The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe’s Families after World War II,” Zahra illuminates an essential chapter of the postwar period in Europe—the negotiations over the repatriation of children and the reconstitution of families. Starting with the efforts of rescue groups during the Armenian genocide and the Spanish Civil War, to the Second World War and postwar conflicts over repatriation and appropriate psychological treatment of unaccompanied or orphaned children, she shows that questions about how best to serve children’s interests were in fact an integral part of debates concerning how to rebuild the nation, physically and psychologically, after the devastation of war.

Currently engaged in a new project that examines a century of emigration from East Central Europe to Western Europe and the United States, Zahra is entering into important new debates about the notions of individual freedoms and human rights and offering a more transnational understanding of events in twentieth-century Europe.

Zahra received a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She was a fellow with the Harvard Society of Fellows (2005–2007) prior to joining the faculty of the University of Chicago.