Jenny Watson

Postdoctoral fellow

Contact details

Address

Street

Department of European Literatures, Languages and Cultures
50 George Square

City
Edinburgh
Post code
EH8 9LH
Street

21 Buccleuch Place, Room 3.04

City
Post code

Availability

  • Office hours Monday 12.30-1.30 and Friday 11.30-12.30

Qualifications

PhD German Studies,Swansea University, 2017

MA Germanic Studies, University of Sheffield, 2012

BA German with Dutch, University of Sheffield, 2012

Responsibilities & affiliations

Treasurer of the Association for Low Countries Studies in the UK and Ireland

Project activity

As the first literary-historical study of representations of the Holocaust outside the concentration camp setting, the project seeks to shed fresh light on the still marginal history of genocidal violence perpetrated on and behind the Eastern Front during the Second World War. My central thesis is that knowledge of the face-to-face mass killing which took place across the countryside of Eastern Europe in the period 1941-44 has troubled the depiction of landscape since 1945. Much as no image of a human face behind barbed wire can ever entirely be freed from cultural memories of the concentration camp, representations of Eastern European landscapes are burdened by the less frequently visualised but nonetheless powerful cultural memories of ‘extra-concentrationary’ violence. From the 1.5 million people murdered by mobile killing units in Ukraine (notably documented in Patrick Desbois’s 2008 work Holocaust by Bullets) to the mass graves that continue to be uncovered on a regular basis in the Baltic states and Belarus, rural spaces are indelibly marked – physically and psychologically – by the history of Nazi genocide. Depictions of mass killing outside the concentration camp setting have yet to be explored as a discrete tendency in post-1945 literature and thus represent an untapped resource for illuminating the cultural history of the Holocaust. German-language texts focusing on atrocities committed outside concentration camps and prisons offer insights into knowledge of the Holocaust among the perpetrator collective and complicate the view of manual mass killing by Einsatzgruppen, police battalions and Wehrmacht troops as a history only belatedly known to the German (and international) public.

Current project grants

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (February 2019 - January 2021)