Beacon College historian Dr. Christopher Huff recently was selected for the 2018 Curt C. and Else Silberman Seminar for Faculty in June at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Launched in 1999, the Silberman Seminar is an initiative of the museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. The center supports domestic and international scholarship and publications in the field of Holocaust studies.
The Silberman Seminar equips college and university faculty who are teaching or preparing to teach Holocaust or Holocaust-related courses across academic disciplines. The center choose seminar attendees through a competitive application process.
This year’s edition is led by:
Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish studies and professor of history at the University of Southern California; Evelynn Hammonds, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the history of science, professor of African and African American Studies Chair, and Department of the History of Science at Harvard University; and Clarence Walker, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of African American History at UC Davis.
Through lectures, readings, and primary source research, the seminar will focus on “Racial Practice: Theory, Policy, and Execution in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South.” Participants will “analyze the similarities, differences, and gray zones of racial theory and practice in Germany and the United States in the first half of the 20th century, paying special attention to how these practices sharply diverged as Nazi antisemitic policies turned into widespread, state sanctioned murder and genocide in the 1940s,” the website notes. “Looking at canonical scholarship on antisemitism and racism in both locales, as well as more recent works on how Jews and African Americans understood the others’ persecution, participants will learn how to respectfully, rigorously, and accurately represent these victims in Holocaust-related courses across disciplines.”
Huff’s trip to Poland two summers ago with the Classrooms without Borders program piqued his interest in the Holocaust seminar.
“We visited several concentration and death camps as well as several Jewish ghettos,” said Huff, an assistant professor of history at Beacon College, a nonprofit liberal arts school and America’s first higher education institution to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students with learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences. “That trip led to the development of a course on the Holocaust and motivated me to further my knowledge about this seminal event in global and Jewish history.”
His seminar experience bolster more effective and historically accurate teaching, Huff said.
“It will provide me with knowledge, skills and new approaches to teaching Beacon students about the Holocaust,” he said.