The Contamination of History. World War II and How Everything Started to Make Sense


In 2020, the Chilean writer Benjamín Labatut published his novel When We Cease to Understand the World about a scientist whose work became weapons during the First and Second World War. For many, the world truly ceased to make sense during that period. But for others, it began to make perfect sense. The talk  elaborated on the ideas of those who made super sense out of the events of World War II in particular and how their ideas have come to inform the contemporary perception that the world is irredeemably contaminated. 

Holly Case is a professor of history at Brown University. She is the author of the award-winning book Between States: The Transylvanian Question and the European Idea during World War II. She is also a regular contributor for various newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, The Chronicle Review and The Nation.

Ivan Vejvoda, IWM Permanent Fellow, introduced the speaker and moderated the ensuing Q&A.


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