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War Crimes Trials in Popular Culture: The Afterlife of Nuremberg

Professor Valerie Hartouni

How do we account for the place that Nuremberg has come to occupy in popular memory, culture, and discourse? This lecture examines the original Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to discuss the prosecution’s use of visual texts, specifically concentration-camp-liberation footage. Two popular renderings of the postwar proceedings, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) and Nuremberg (2000), will be described. Both films use the liberation footage as a dramatic hinge to explain, legitimize, and simplify the exercise of justice that each film depicts. And yet how each film ultimately depicts the stakes of the historic trial or the nature of Nazi criminality differs in important ways. The talk concludes with a discussion about why these differences matter.

Instructor: Valerie Hartouni is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at UC San Diego. She writes on law and popular culture and is currently completing a collection of essays, tentatively titled Spectacles of Truth-Telling. Hartouni received a Ph.D. in History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz.

Coordinator: Joel E. Dimsdale

Course Number: OSHR-70038   Credit: 0 units


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