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National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant

This is a portal to the work produced for the NEH Challenge Grant in collaboration with the Kupferberg Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College.


Queensborough Community College is one of six community colleges nationwide chosen in 2011 by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to receive a Challenge Grant for Two-Year Colleges to strengthen their humanities programs and resources. The College’s Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives (KHRCA) is at the heart of this grant and of our efforts to serve as a model of excellence in enriching students’ experiences and deepening their understanding of differences among cultures.‚Äč

KHRCA Colloquia by Year

2013-2014 NEH Challenge Grant and KHRCA Colloquia: "The Holocaust in a Global Context: Connections Across the Community College"

Brochure for the lecture series

In 2005, the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution against genocide that not only embraced the idea of remembering the Holocaust but pledged to support the development of teaching about the Holocaust, condemn ethnic and religious violence and help prevent future acts of genocide. The idea is to take the Holocaust as an international lesson and use it to defuse global stresses and address on-going and future genocides. The mission, or common goal, is to work for a better future for humanity. This involves enlarging awareness. More conflicts are expected because of the constant pressure of economic crises, political upheaval, climate change, migration, the movements of refugees and war.
Queensborough Community College is similarly dedicated to this important mission of using the Holocaust to educate. Many of our students, coming from all over the world, know very little about the Holocaust or its implications for the future. The Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center provides resources and tools that can help with outreach, using remembrance and memory as a foundation. The aim of this proposal is to invest in and build more resources that can be utilized at Queensborough. Along with survivors who can give personal testimony as they visit classes, make presentations and interact with students, we hope to provide scholarship and an interdisciplinary perspective to help students understand the past and make connections to the world that they know. The goal is to embrace remembrance and go beyond it by involving students in the project of unlearning intolerance and committing to the idea of common shared responsibility as a tool for prevention.


2014-2015 NEH Challenge Grant and KHRCA Colloquia: "Testimony across the Disciplines: Cultural and Artistic Responses to Genocide"

This was a student-centered, large-scale interdisciplinary pedagogy project which will integrate QCC's cultural and academic resources amongst 300 students, 20 faculty members, 10 academic disciplines and 5 colleges. The pedagogy project will both facilitate and document QCC students' research and cultural and artistic responses to genocide (and organized hate) through work with genocide scholars, Holocaust survivors, interdisciplinary research collaborations, writing workshops, and cultural/artistic immersions. The project will culminate with a student-created capstone art/research exhibit at the KHRCA and a music, dance and poetry recital at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center (QPAC).

This website will serve as an archived content and library resource hub for all participating students, professors and scholars in the pedagogy project, as well as the interested public. The website will also facilitate interdisciplinary research and provide resources related to NEH Grant lectures and events, themes surrounding genocide and organized hate, course content from participating faculty, student projects, resources for research, and recommended texts.


2015-2016 NEH Challenge Grant and KHRCA Colloquia : "Gender, Mass Violence and Genocide"

"Gender, Mass Violence, and Genocide" is a Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives  (KHRCA) colloquia series consisting of eight events tightly linked to a newly established field of research in genocide studies: gender-sensitive scholarship on mass violence and genocide. According to von Joeden-Forgey, a gendered analysis of “genocide as a process: its roots, its immediate causes, its shape, its aftermath, and ultimately, its definition” will lead to both “a better understand(ing) of the crime” and the improvement of “protocols for preventing and responding to it."

The eight events that constitute “Gender, Mass Violence, and Genocide” have two foci. The first is how gender structures and mediates experiences of mass violence and genocide, including the nature of pre-genocidal propaganda, the agency and victimization of men and women, and the use and effects of certain genocidal tools (e.g., sexual violence, selective mass killing, and slavery). The second is how attention to gender can help to predict, prevent, and reconcile mass violence and genocide. For example, the events collectively speak to gendered precursors to (and early warning signs of) genocide, gendered memories of trauma, and gendered efforts to rebuild and restore justice after genocide.

To best address these two foci, the eight events engage comparative perspectives and in-depth reflections on specific historical events. Consistent with Fein, they address elements of gender-specific and gender-neutral genocides, and they examine both women and men as agents (or perpetrators) and victims of mass violence and genocide. The eight events also offer deliberately diverse disciplinary perspectives on the topics; bringing together fifteen scholars from a range of humanities and humanities-oriented disciplines, including History, Psychology, Philosophy, Women’s and Gender Studies, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Comparative Genocide Studies, Linguistics, Political Science, Sociology, English and Comparative Literature, and Jurisprudence


2016-17 NEH Challenge Grant and KHRCA Colloquia: "Fleeing Genocide: Displacement, Exile and the Refugee"

Fleeing Genocide: Displacement, Exile, and the Refugee is a Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives (KHRCA) colloquia series comprising of eight events, which seeks to put the past in conversation with the present by exploring the history of genocide and refugees. We endeavor to move our students and community past abstract compassion, into an investigation of the reality of genocide and the trauma of displacement. We will explore the genocides that create refugee populations, and examine the challenges facing refugee populations as they seek to find asylum in countries and communities that are often resistant to accepting them.

We intend to demonstrate the multifarious complexity of the refugee experience in the past and present; create, shape, and revise multidisciplinary discourses around questions of refugees; and provide the inter-textual material to empower the college community with the means to join these developing global conversations on inclusivity. Each program offers a different disciplinary perspective that builds on the argument that the condition of the refugee extends across several spaces of identity, being global and local, social and personal simultaneously. The series will highlight the critical need for global inclusion, both by demonstrating the deeply multidimensional impact of the refugee experience precipitated by genocide and by emphasizing its historical and contemporaneous urgency.

Each of our eight events works collectively to engage students and the community, asking them to reflect on the phenomenon of genocide and the creation of refugees and inspiring them to move beyond abstract compassion. This series also explores refugee experience amongst our diverse student and faculty body. Regular reflective workshops following our scheduled speakers will allow students smaller and more personalized forums to empower them to join the developing global conversations on inclusivity. Additionally, our final two events feature work from members of our Queensborough community, bridging events of war and genocide from far-flung spaces to the local and familiar.

2017-2018 KHC/NEH Colloquium Series: Collaboration and Complicity

Collaboration and Complicity: The scholarship on the Holocaust has increasingly transitioned from focusing exclusively on the perpetrators of violence against the Jewish population towards the enablers of Nazi policy and genocidal aims, which include complicity and collaboration on a massive scale. Such a theme is imperative in understanding the complexities of the Holocaust as it raises accountability not only to individual bystanders who remained passive or complicit as the Reich started to implement genocidal policies but to larger institutions such as the governments of occupied territories in Europe, the larger international community, and institutions that were designed to protect vulnerable populations, such as the Red Cross. Moreover, the role that individuals played as either rescuers or collaborators spotlights the potential regular civilians can play in terms of either resisting forces of evil or enabling its expansion. At the heart of this theme, the question of what kind of agency individuals possess as their government tilts towards authoritarianism is paramount. Complicity and collaboration will be explored through a social psychological lens by evaluating the way that dominant institutions and situational factors impacted the behaviors (or passivity) of individual bystanders and larger communities.


Collaboration and Complicity is organized as the 2017-2018 colloquium series by Dr. Azadeh Aalai of Queensborough Community College, CUNY. The Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives colloquia series, initiated in the 2012–2013 academic year, is supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

This program was made possible thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this web resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Exhibit: The Jacket from Dachau: One Survivor’s Search for Justice, Identity, and Home