Dr Avril Alba

BA(Hons)/BMus (Adelaide), MTS (Harvard), PhD (Sydney)
Roth Lecturer in Holocaust Studies and Jewish Civilisation

A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 5226

Biographical details

Avril teaches and researches in the areas of Holocaust and modern Jewish history with a focus on Jewish and Holocaust museums. Her monograph, The Holocaust Memorial Museum: Sacred Secular Space, will be published in 2015 (Palgrave MacMillan). From 2002-2011 Avril was the Education Director at the Sydney Jewish Museum where she also served as the Project Director/Curator for the permanent exhibition Culture and Continuity in 2008-09. She continues to serve as the lead consulting curator for the redevelopment of the museum’s permanent Holocaust exhibition. Avril’s other research interests include Australian Holocaust memory, Human Rights museums and pre-war Jewish museums and exhibitions. In addition to her interest and professional expertise in Holocaust museums, Avril is also undertaking research into Holocaust memory in its broader context and in particular the efficacy of this memory in post war, ‘racialized’ societies. Avril welcomes enquiries from prospective Honours, Masters, and PhD students in these and related areas.

Research interests

  • Holocaust history, memory and representation
  • Museums and memorials
  • Modern Jewish history
  • Jewish theology/ post Holocaust theology

Teaching and supervision

Teaching

  • JCTC1002 Jewish Settlement Outside Palestine
  • JCTC 2605 From Emancipation to the Holocaust
  • JCTC 2606 Holocaust: History and Aftermath
  • JCTC 6100 Sites of Trauma, Landscapes of Genocide
  • MHST 6901 Museum and Heritage: History and Theory

Supervision

  • Holocaust memory
  • Holocaust testimony
  • Holocaust literature

Current projects

Avril currently leads the ARC Linkage project, Australian Holocaust Memory, Human Rights and the Contemporary Museum with A/Professor Jennifer Barrett (CI) and Professor A. Dirk Moses (PI). The project comprises an exploration of the nexus between the Holocaust and human rights through the prism of the Sydney Jewish Museum. She is also an active member of the international research group The Holocaust and Legacies of Race with colleagues from the Universities of Cape Town and Southampton.

Other Professional Contributions

Avril continues to serve as an advisor to the Sydney Jewish Museum for current exhibition and education projects as well as commemorative initiatives.

Recent Conference Activity

  • Invited Speaker for opening plenary panel and conference summation lecture: “The Future of the Past: Representing the Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Trauma in the 21st Century”, Deakin University, 6-8 July 2014.
  • ‘The Holocaust Memorial Museum: a Syncretic ‘Sacred Space’?‘Australian Association for Jewish Studies Conference, University of Adelaide, 9-10 February 2014. (member of the conference organizing committee)
  • Holocaust Memory in Australia: Public or Private Domain?’, Aftermath: Sites and Sources of Memory, Monash University, 5-6 August 2013.
  • ‘Here there is no why”—so why do we come here? Is a pedagogy of atrocity possible?’ The Future of Holocaust Studies, Southampton and Winchester Universities, 29-31 July 2013
  • ‘The Counter Memorial Void: Silence as Secular Theodicy’, Challenging Memories: Silence and Empathy in Heritage Interpretation, Devon, 7-19 July 2013
  • ‘Marching to the Same Drum? Reflections of Survivors, Students and Educators on MOTL Australia’ The Aftermath of Genocide: Victims and Perpetrators, Representations and Interpretations, International Assoc of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) Sienna, 19-22 June 2013
  • ‘The Intergenerational Transmission of the Memory of Genocide’, Genocide: Knowing the Past, Safeguarding the Future, International Network of Genocide Scholars, San Francisco State University, 28 June- 1 July 2012
  • ‘A Question of Relevance: Redeveloping the Sydney Jewish Museum’, The Holocaust and the Legacies of Race in the Post Colonial World: 1945-Present, Sydney University (in conjunction with the Universities of Southampton and Cape Town), 10-12 April 2012, Conference organiser with Professor Suzanne Rutland.
  • ‘When Everything Old is New Again’, Uncovering Amalek at Yad Vashem’, Old New Jews: Jewish Identity in the 21st Century,Australian Association for Jewish Studies Conference, Monash University, 12-13 February 2012.

Selected grants

2014

  • Australian Holocaust Memory, Human Rights and the Contemporary Museum; Alba A, Barrett J, Moses A, Sugarman R; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Linkage Projects (LP).

2012

  • The Holocaust and Legacies of Race in the Postcolonial World, 1945 to the present; Rutland S, Alba A, Gilbert S, Jordan J, Kushner T, Shain M; DVC International/IPDF Grant.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Alba, A. (2014). Set in Stone? The Intergenerational and Institutional Transmission of Holocaust Memory. In Nigel Eltringham and Pam Maclean (Eds.), Remembering Genocide, (pp. 92-111). London: Routledge.
  • Alba, A. (2008). Displaying the Sacred: Australian Holocaust Memorials in Public Life. In Tom Lawson and James Jordan (Eds.), The Memory of the Holocaust in Australia, (pp. 128-147). London: Vallentine Mitchell Publishers.

Journals

  • Cooke, S., Alba, A., Frieze, D. (2014). Community museums and the creation of a ‘sense of place’: Holocaust Museums in Australia. reCollections: A journal of museums and collections, 9(1), 1-21.
  • Alba, A. (2012). Book review - 'The Holocaust and Representation of Jews'. Holocaust Studies: a journal of culture and history, 18(2-3/ Autumn/Winter), 287-291.
  • Alba, A. (2009). Testifying to the Holocaust. Australian Jewish Historical Society. Journal, 19(3), 434-437.
  • Alba, A. (2007). Displaying the Sacred: Australian Holocaust Memorials in Public Life. Holocaust Studies: a journal of culture and history, 13(2-3), 151-172.
  • Alba, A. (2005). Integrity and Relevance: Shaping Holocaust Memory at the Sydney Jewish Museum. Judaism, 54(31-32), 108-115.

Magazine / Newspaper Articles

  • Alba, A. (2014). How Eva Slonim survived as a child in Auschwitz - Review of Eva Slonim’s ‘Gazing at the Stars'. Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Alba, A. (2004). After Such Knowledge: Representation and Responsibility. Metro Magazine: Australian Screen Education, 35.

2014

  • Cooke, S., Alba, A., Frieze, D. (2014). Community museums and the creation of a ‘sense of place’: Holocaust Museums in Australia. reCollections: A journal of museums and collections, 9(1), 1-21.
  • Alba, A. (2014). How Eva Slonim survived as a child in Auschwitz - Review of Eva Slonim’s ‘Gazing at the Stars'. Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Alba, A. (2014). Set in Stone? The Intergenerational and Institutional Transmission of Holocaust Memory. In Nigel Eltringham and Pam Maclean (Eds.), Remembering Genocide, (pp. 92-111). London: Routledge.

2012

  • Alba, A. (2012). Book review - 'The Holocaust and Representation of Jews'. Holocaust Studies: a journal of culture and history, 18(2-3/ Autumn/Winter), 287-291.

2009

  • Alba, A. (2009). Testifying to the Holocaust. Australian Jewish Historical Society. Journal, 19(3), 434-437.

2008

  • Alba, A. (2008). Displaying the Sacred: Australian Holocaust Memorials in Public Life. In Tom Lawson and James Jordan (Eds.), The Memory of the Holocaust in Australia, (pp. 128-147). London: Vallentine Mitchell Publishers.

2007

  • Alba, A. (2007). Displaying the Sacred: Australian Holocaust Memorials in Public Life. Holocaust Studies: a journal of culture and history, 13(2-3), 151-172.

2005

  • Alba, A. (2005). Integrity and Relevance: Shaping Holocaust Memory at the Sydney Jewish Museum. Judaism, 54(31-32), 108-115.

2004

  • Alba, A. (2004). After Such Knowledge: Representation and Responsibility. Metro Magazine: Australian Screen Education, 35.

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