Not Telling: How Folklorists Think about Narrative

Amy Shuman (The Ohio State University)

My aunt was a hidden child in France during the Holocaust, but we didn't talk about it.  I only learned her story when a member of the family found her Shoah Foundation interview on youtube.  That was in 2012; by then she was part of a group of hidden children, and someone had persuaded her to tell her story.  Since then, she has become a frequent teller at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and she and I have had many conversations about telling and not telling her story. My presentation references many of the important discussions about narrating atrocity including the reluctance to talk about trauma and the obligation to bear witness to it and acknowledge one’s place in one’s own history.  Acknowledging, but moving beyond those conversations, I explore narration that lets others into intimate, high intensity emotional states.  

Part of Francis Lee Utley Memorial Lecture: Amy Shuman, Friday, October 14, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm