Mum, by Julia Creet
Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL
London, WC1E 6BT
Discussant: Joanna Beata Michlic (IAS, UCL)
Part literary detective story and part personal journey, MUM is a documentary drawn from Magda Creet’s memoirs, letters and poems, an archive of a survivor who left a paper trail to her hidden Jewish past. The trail leads to Hungary, where local memory reveals the story my mother tried to forget.
Julia Creet is a professor of English at York University in Toronto, Canada. She is a leading international scholar in Memory Studies having been involved in the development of the field since the 1990s. Prof. Creet’s research projects are broadly interdisciplinary spanning the Humanities and the Social Sciences including the history of the Holocaust, literary studies, documentary film, archival studies, and family history.
Memory and Migration: Multidisciplinary approaches to memory studies, co-edited with Andreas Kitzmann (UTP 2010, reissued in paper in 2014) is held by 925 libraries worldwide (Worldcat) making it one of the foundational texts in the field of Memory Studies. H.G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy, (Northwestern UP 2016) co-edited with Sara Horowitz and Amira Dan, won the Jewish Thought And Culture Award from the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards. This trio of editors has a second volume on Jewish writing forthcoming, Shadows in the City of Lights: Images of Paris in Postwar French Jewish Writing (SUNY Press, 2019). Creet’s forthcoming monograph The Genealogical Sublime (University of Massachusetts Press, 2019) is a crossover academic/trade book that traces the cultural, historical and corporate histories of the longest, largest, and most profitable genealogy databases in the world.
In addition to her scholarship, Creet has also produced and directed two documentary films. MUM: A Story of Silence (38 min 2008) is a personal documentary about a Holocaust survivor who tried to forget. That engagement with family history led to a documentary investigating the cultural and technological zeitgeist of genealogy itself, Data Mining the Deceased: Ancestry and the Business of Family (56 mins 2017, HD), which as has aired in Canada, the UK, the US, India and Australia.
Joanna Beata Michlic is a social and cultural historian, and founder of HBI (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust at Brandeis University. She is an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the UCL Centre for the Study of Collective Violence, the Holocaust and Genocide, UCL Institute for Advances Studies, and an Honorary Senior Associate at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) in London. Her research focuses on social and cultural history of Poland and East European Jews, the Holocaust and its memory in Europe, and antisemitism and nationalism in Eastern Europe. She is a recipient of many prestigious academic awards and fellowships, most recently Gerda Henkel Fellowship, 2017-2020.
Her major publications include Neighbors Respond: The Controversy about Jedwabne (2004; co-edited with Antony Polonsky), Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to
the Present, (translated into Polish in 2015 and nominated for the Best History Book of Kazimierz Moczarski Award 2016 in Poland; Hebrew translation by Yad Vashem Studies in preparation), and Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, co-edited with John-Paul Himka (Lincoln, NUP, 2012).
Her latest book is Jewish Family 1939 –Present: History, Representation, and Memory, Brandeis University Press/NEUP, January 2017), made to the Ethical Inquiry list of the best books published in 2017 at Brandeis University.