Dr Isabel Wollaston BA, PhD (Dunelm)

Dr Isabel Wollaston

Department of Theology and Religion
Associate Professor in Jewish and Holocaust Studies

Contact details

Address
ERI Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

My main teaching and research interests, and the majority of my publications, relate to Holocaust studies and contemporary Jewish-Christian relations (post 1945).

Qualifications

  • BA
  • PhD (Dunelm)
  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Biography

Isabel’s first academic appointment was as Sir James Knott Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. She then received a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, spending a year at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (1991-1992) before moving to the University of Birmingham.

Isabel is a member of the British Association for Jewish Studies, the British Association for Holocaust Studies, and the European Association for Holocaust Studies. In 2005 Isabel served as President of the British Association for Jewish Studies. In 2015 she was President of the British Association for Holocaust Studies, and served on its committee (2015-2022). Isabel was a member of the Home Office’s Holocaust Memorial Day Strategic Vision Group (2002-2005) and has served on the Academic Advisory Boards of the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge (1998-2006), and the National Holocaust Centre and Museum. Laxton, Nottinghamshire (2015-2017). She was Editor of Reviews in Religion and Theology (1997-2005). Isabel has been a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2020.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • How do we know what (we think) we know about the Holocaust? 
  • Auschwitz in History and Memory
  • Historical and contemporary debates on the Holocaust
  • God beyond borders
  • Dissertation preparation

Postgraduate

  • Dissertation Preparation and Guided Reading (Holocaust and Genocide)
  • Historical and contemporary debates on the Holocaust
  • Auschwitz in History and Memory
  • Interfaith relations and issues

Postgraduate supervision

Elie Wiesel and Jewish religious responses to the Holocaust;
Contemporary Christian-Jewish relations (with a particular interest in the Christianization of the Holocaust, Catholic-Jewish relations, Christian BDS movements and Kairos Palestine);
Representations of the Holocaust (particularly museums, memorials, photographs, film, testimony, gendered responses);
British responses to the Holocaust (with a particular interest in the Kindertransport, Holocaust Memorial Day, the institutionalization of British memory of the Holocaust in museums and memorials, the creation and evolution of Holocaust Memorial Day, the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission report Britain’s Promise to Remember and creation of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation);
Dark tourism/Holocaust tourism; commemoration/memorialization of mass death


Find out more - our PhD Theology and Religion  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

My current research focuses on (1) the memory and representation of the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz; (2) the return documentaries of the British Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon; (3) current debates relating to the representation of the Holocaust in museums; (4) the ways in which archival photographs of the Holocaust are used and ‘reused’.

Other activities

  • Programme leader BA History and Theology (Joint Honours)
  • Deputy Head of Education (Quality Assurance), School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham
  • Member, Academic Advisory Board, UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation
  • Member of the editorial board of Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History

Publications

Highlight publications

Wollaston, I 2020, 'I belong here. I know I ought never to have come back, because it has proved I've never been away': Kitty Hart-Moxon's documentaries of return. in T Lawson & A Pearce (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of Britain and the Holocaust. Palgrave, 2020, pp. 347-364.

Wollaston, I & Williams, D 2019, The Sonderkommando and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum. in N Chare & D Williams (eds), Testimonies of Resistance: Representations of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Sonderkommando. Berghahn Books, pp. 193-214.

Wollaston, I 2021, '(Re-)visualizing the 'heart of hell'? Representations of the Auschwitz Sonderkommando in the art of David Olère and Son of Saul (László Nemes, 2015)', Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 131-146. https://doi.org/10.1080/17504902.2019.1625119

Wollaston, I 2014, 'Emerging from the shadows? The Auschwitz Sonderkommando and the 'four women' in history and memory', Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 137-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/17504902.2014.11435378

Wollaston, I 2015, 'Swimming against the Tide? Melissa Raphael’s Contribution to the Study of Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust', Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 28-46. https://doi.org/10.1080/17504902.2009.11087238

Recent publications

Book

Wollaston, I & Read, K 2001, Suffer the Little Children? Reflections on the Cross, Urban Violence and Sacred Space. University of Birmingham Press.

Wollaston, I 1996, A War Against Memory: The Future of Holocaust Remembrance. SPCK, London.

Article

Wollaston, I 2012, 'The Absent, The Partial and the Iconic in Archival Photos of the Holocaust', Jewish Culture and History, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 439. https://doi.org/10.1080/1462169X.2012.721494

Wollaston, I 2005, 'Negotiating the Marketplace: The role(s) of Holocaust museums today', Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 63-80. https://doi.org/10.1080/14725880500052782

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Wollaston, I 2015, The absent, the partial and the iconic in archival photographs of the Holocaust. in H Ewence & H Spurling (eds), Visualizing Jews through the Ages: Literal and Material Representations of Jewishness and Judaism. Routledge Studies in Cultural History, vol. 37, Routledge, London, pp. 265-293.

Wollaston, I, Watson, NK & Burns, S 2011, '"Where He is? This is where - hanging here from this gallows." An Exploration of the Child-hanging Scene in Elie Wiesel's Night'. in N Watson & S Burns (eds), Exchanges of grace: essays in honour of Ann Loades. SCM Press.

Wollaston, I 2011, Post-Holocaust Jewish Interpretations of Job. in M Lieb, E Mason, J Roberts & C Rowland (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible. pp. 488-501. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199204540.001.0001

Wollaston, I 2001, A War Against Memory? Nativising the Holocaust. in JK Roth, E Maxwell & M Levy (eds), Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide. vol. 3, Palgrave.

Wollaston, I 1995, Traditions of remembrance: Post-Holocaust interpretations of Genesis 22. in J Davies, G Harvey & W Watson (eds), Words Remembered, Texts Renewed: Essays in Honour of John F.A. Sawyer. JSOT Supplement Series, vol. 195, Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield, pp. 41.

Wollaston, I 1993, 'Memory and monument': Holocaust testimony as sacred text. in The Sociology of Sacred Texts. Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield, pp. 37.

Chapter

Wollaston, I 2009, Yad Vashem and the ‘Hot’ Topics in Christian-Jewish Relations Today. in No Going Back: Letters to Pope Benedict XVI on the Holocaust, Jewish-Christian Relations and Israel.

Wollaston, I, Kessler, E & Wright, M 2005, 'Telling the Tale': The self-Representation and Reception of Elie Wiesel. in Themes in Jewish-Christian Relations.

Book/Film/Article review

Wollaston, I 2010, 'Review of Julius Schelvis, Sobibor: A History of a Nazi Death Camp (Oxford: Berg, 2007)', Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 361-362.

Wollaston, I 2009, 'Wrestling with God: Jewish Theological Responses During and After the Holocaust', Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 175-175.

Review article

Wollaston, I 2002, 'Evil Revisited', Reviews in Religion and Theology, vol. 9:1, pp. 15-23. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9418.00129

View all publications in research portal

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