Naomi Hahn, A. Boyd Pixley professor of humanities at Illinois College, is one of a handful of professors from around the United States taking part in the International Faculty Development Seminar that is being held in Berlin, Germany and Krakow, Poland this month.
This year’s seminar is titled “Ruin and Revival: History, Modern Memory and Identity,” and focuses on the six decades since the devastation and social upheaval of Germany, Poland and other European countries.
The international seminar was established by the Council on International Educational Exchange and is said to be inspired by the myth of the phoenix, an ancient bird that engulfs itself in a nest of flames to die and be reborn, rising from the ashes of its pyre. Poland and Germany are two such phoenixes moving through the later stages of rebirth after fascism, World War II, the Holocaust and communist oppression.
The seminar delves into the role of historical memory in the formulation of individual and national identities in contemporary post-Holocaust and post-communist Poland and former East Germany. Three thematic perspectives will be used to explore the construction and transmission of memory: arts, literature and culture; institutions and education; and place and memorial.
After the completion of the seminar, Hahn will continue her special research interest in the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche church in Dresden, Germany, which suffered severe damage during World War II. She has given public lectures on the rebuilding and renewal of the cathedral.
Hahn is known for her teachings in Shakespeare, European literature and drama at Illinois College. She was a German major at Augustana College in Davenport, Iowa and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Purdue University.