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Title: A trip to the dark side? : a sociomaterial analysis of the spaces of Holocaust pedagogies at Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Author: Henderson, Susan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 7776
Awarding Body: University of the West of Scotland
Current Institution: University of the West of Scotland
Date of Award: 2015
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Every year, individuals visit Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland, including schools. Despite studies exploring students' historical knowledge and their emotional experiences of these excursions, few have explored how students learn at Holocaust sites. Informed by recent developments in Science and Technological Studies (STS), human geography and performativity, this study aimed to evaluate what a sociomaterial analysis of Auschwitz-Birkenau might contribute to theorising Holocaust pedagogies and learning. An 'onto-epistemological' model for analysing Holocaust education excursions was proposed to interrogate how pedagogy is performed multiply through relational practices. Working as a volunteer educator at Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, I applied a performative ethnographic approach to follow three case-study school tours (from the Government-funded Lessons from Auschwitz Project; from a secondary school in North-East Scotland; from a Norwegian school) attending to the social, material and bodily participations of 'posthumans'. Follow-up intraviews thus enabled students to query my observations, using video-clips as a stimulus to elicit the non-representational elements of their learning experience. By following three 'more-and-less visible' things in the museum as relational assemblages (i.e. shoes; audio-headsets; signage), this study found how particular Holocaust knowledges are ordered in the museum. These assemblages were shown to be important in defining pedagogy through the quality of their coextensive relationships with humans. Moreover, this study showed how assemblages in/of/as space 'fix', and communicate, particular knowledges about the Holocaust, which are variably received by students. Such variations in learning highlight that the openness of museum spaces correlate with more fluid knowledges. Thus, this study found that where there are 'openings' in the educational landscape, there are also possibilities for spaces to choreograph new knowledges that encourage democratic learning. These knowledge-making processes can also result in 'pedagogical hinges', where the bodies emerge in relation to past/present. Educators are thus challenged to adopt a place-response-able/responsible approach to pedagogy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available