Dr Isabel Wollaston BA, PhD (Dunelm)

Dr Isabel Wollaston

Department of Theology and Religion
Senior Lecturer 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)

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 before moving to the University of Birmingham.

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.

Isabel was a member of the Home Office’s Holocaust Memorial Day Strategic Vision Group (2002-2005) and has served on the Academic Advisory Board of the National Holocaust Centre and Museum. Laxton, Nottinghamshire. She was Editor of Reviews in Religion and Theology, 1997-2005.

Isabel is a member of the British Association for Jewish Studies, the British Association for Holocaust Studies, the European Association for Holocaust Studies

Teaching

Undergraduate

  •  Widening Horizons Module: Constructing the Holocaust
  •  Introduction to the Study of the Holocaust 
  • Auschwitz in History and Memory
  • Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust

Postgraduate

  •  Dissertation Preparation and Guided Reading (Holocaust and Genocide)
  • Research Skills in the Study of Holocaust and Genocide
  • Historical and contemporary debates on the Holocaust
  • Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
  • Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust

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 

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 of the interdisciplinary MA Holocaust and Genocide
  • Deputy Head of Education, School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham
  • Member of the Committee of the British Association for Holocaust Studies
  • Member of the editorial board of Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History

Publications

Books

  • (Ed.) with Kay Read, Suffer the Little Children? Reflections on the Cross, Urban Violence and Sacred Space (Birmingham: University of Birmingham Press, 2001)
  • A War against Memory? The Future of Holocaust Remembrance (London: SPCK, 1996)
  • (Ed.) with Jon G. Davies, The Sociology of Sacred Texts, (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993)

Selected articles and chapters in books

 Encyclopedia and dictionary entries

  • ‘Ecumenical Deal’ (p. 137), ‘Holocaust’ (pp. 190-191), ‘Holocaust Memorial Days’ (pp. 192-193) and ‘Museums’ (p. 304) in Edward Kessler and Neil Wenborn (eds.), A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations (Cambridge, 2005)
  • ‘Wiesel, Elie’ in Martin Davie et al, New Dictionary of Theology: Historical and Systematic, Second Edition (London & Downers Grove, 2016), pp. 958-59
  • ‘Holocaust – Judaism’ in Dale C. Allison, Jr. et al (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, volume 12 (Berlin & Boston, 2016): 83-88 

Educational-related publications

  • Challenges for Theological Training’ in Carol Rittner, Stephen D. Smith and Irena Steinfeldt (eds.), The Holocaust and the Christian World: Reflections on the Past, Challenges for the Future (London: Kuperard, 2000): 189-91.
  • Auschwitz and the Politics of Commemoration, Holocaust Educational Trust Research Papers 1:5 (1999-2000)
  • Christian Responses to the Holocaust, Farmington Papers: Philosophy of Religion 5 (Oxford: Farmington Institute for Christian Studies, 1999)