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Title: National identity in crisis : post-1990 Holocaust cinema in Israel, Germany and Hollywood
Author: Jenkins, Gary
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 0062
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2017
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Taking a comparative approach, my PhD thesis investigates the relationship between recent cinematic representations of the Holocaust in Israel, Germany, and Hollywood, and formations of national identity. Focusing on the ways in which specific political and cultural factors shape dominant discourses surrounding the Nazis’ attempt to destroy the European Jewry, I argue that the Holocaust is central to a crisis in national identity in all three countries. Whereas Holocaust films have traditionally reinforced the socio-political ideals informing the context of their production, however, the analysis of my central corpus demonstrates that this cinema can also be seen to challenge dominant discourses expressing the values that maintain established notions of national identity. Central to this challenge is the positioning of the nation as either a victim or perpetrator with regards to the Holocaust. The presentation of opposing narratives in my central corpus of films suggests a heterogeneity that undermines the tendency in dominant discourses to present victim and perpetrator positions as mutually exclusive. The trajectory from one position to its opposite is itself informed by generational shifts. As a consequence, I also discuss the perspectives offered by members of the second and third generations whose focus on particular aspects of the Holocaust challenge the discourses established by the previous one. By way of conclusion, I focus on the transnational aspect of Holocaust film. In highlighting a number of commonalities across the three cinemas discussed in my thesis, I argue that in addition to expressing themes that relate to the issue of national identity, these films also suggest the construction of ‘identity communities’ that exist beyond state borders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available