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What was the story the Nazis told themselves about their past that legitimize the persecution and extermination of the Jews? The Nazis had a revolutionary spatial policy to conquer the entire Continent, enslaving and exterminating millions. What, then, was the revolutionary concept of time that accompanied this revolutionary policy of space? What was the imagination of time and of history that gave meaning and legitimacy to their radical exterminatory policies? Presenting his new book, Confino traces the Nazi imagination of a world without Jews, and how it made the persecution and extermination conceivable and imaginable.
Alon Confino earned his B.A. at Tel Aviv University and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a faculty member in the Department of History at the University of Virginia since 1992, and he also holds a position as professor of history at Ben- Gurion University in Israel. His work focuses on the edges of the historical discipline, where the historical method meets ethnography, literature, anthropology, and cultural studies. He is interested in crafting narratives that weave together story telling with critical analysis and has explored different possibilities of historical narration with the goal of telling expansive human stories.
Confino is the author of numerous publications, including: A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide (Yale University Press, 2014), which won a Guggenheim Fellowship; Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust As Historical Understanding (Cambridge University Press, 2012); Germany As a Culture of Remembrance: Promises and Limits of Writing History (University of North Carolina Press, 2006); and, The Nation As a Local Metaphor: Württemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918 (University of North Carolina Press, 1997).
Currently, Confino is researching forced migrations in the 1940s in Central and Eastern Europe, India/Pakistan, and Palestine/Israel, with a concentration on local history, memory, and human rights. His focus is a book project on 1948 Palestine that crafts two narratives: one is the experience of Arabs, Jews, and the British based on letters, diaries, and oral history, and the second places 1948 within a global perspective of decolonization, forced migrations, and partitions.
Watch this video of Alon Confino about his new book and upcoming lecture: