European Union Center
European Union Center
Event Detail Information
EUC Lecture Series: Remembering the Good: Social Memory and the Resistance to Violence in the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon
ABSTRACT: From 1939 to 1945, the villagers of the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon, France, hid, protected, and ultimately rescued thousands of Jews from the Nazis at great peril to their own lives. Their actions''collective and long-term in nature''were almost unparalleled in the entire history of the Holocaust. But long before the Holocaust and until the present day, villagers in this region have shown a habit of taking in persecuted outsiders''religious, national, ethnic, and territorial''and sheltering them, feeding them, and shuttling them out of harm''s way. The case of resistance and rescue in the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon provides us not only with a moral story about goodness; it offers social science an exceptional example of violence-avoiding practices that recur regularly and endure under extreme conditions. How does the community of the plateau Vivarais-Lignon handle the shelter of outsiders both in the past and in the present? What are some of the social processes that lie at the heart of the way outsiders are sheltered there, particularly during extraordinary times?
BIO: Dr. Margaret Paxson is an anthropologist and author of Solvyovo: The Story of Memory in a Russian Village, which was named a 2006 ''Book of the Year'' by Salon.com. A Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, Paxson studies the problem of social memory and the transformation of societies in times of war and peace. She has conducted long-term fieldwork projects in the Russian north and the North Caucasus, and in rural France. Her essays have appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Post Magazine, Aeon, The Wilson Quarterly, and Die Zeit, as well as in scholarly books and journals. She has held research appointments at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and George Washington University. A native of Rochester, New York, Dr. Paxson has had a lifelong interest in community- and peace-building and was a coordinator for Rochester''s Biracial Partnerships, an innovative program that sought to build lasting bridges between the city''s racial communities. She is fluent in Russian and French and also has skills in Kabardian, a language of Russia''s North Caucasus region, and has appeared on BBC Radio, Dialog television, and other broadcast media. Dr. Paxson holds a B.A. in anthropology from McGill University and a master''s and Ph.D., also in anthropology, from the University of Montreal.