School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Gary Jenkins
Gary

Doctoral Student in Film Studies

Supervisors

Professor Guy Austin and Dr Beate Müller

‘Post-Holocaust’ Cinema: Public Memory and National Identity after Auschwitz.

With a focus on recent cinematic representations of the Holocaust in Israel, Germany, and America, my PhD thesis investigates the relationship between the public memory of the Nazis’ attempt to destroy the European Jewry and the national contexts from which they emerge. Taking a comparative approach, I discuss the ways in which specific cultural factors shape the public memory of these events, and, conversely, how this memory informs formations of national identity, arguing that the Holocaust is central to the crisis of collective identity in each national context.

Discussing films such as Don’t Touch My Holocaust (Al Tigu Le B'Shoah, Asher Tlalim, 1994), I argue that in its marginalisation of the non-Ashkenazi perspective Israel’s public memory of the Holocaust mirrors a Zionist master narrative that sought to exclude the majority of survivor experiences. My chapter on cinema of the Berlin Republic discusses films such as The Unknown Soldier (Der unbekannte Soldat, Michael Verhoeven, 2006) with regards to the continued presence of German loss during the Second World War, arguing that narratives of such suffering represent a challenge to the sweeping contentions of a public memory that primarily frames the German experience in terms of perpetration. Focussing on recent Hollywood representations of the Holocaust, I discuss the moral questions that emerged following the human rights violations committed during the so-called War on Terror, arguing that depictions of Jewish revenge in films such as Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) mask desires for retribution in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Research Interests

The majority of my wider research interests reflect a desire to develop a number of themes raised in my PhD thesis. These include the cinematic work of German filmmaker Michael Verhoeven, and in particular his exploration of the opposing victim/perpetrator status assigned to the Wehrmacht in wider discussions about World War Two victimhood. In addition, I am interested in the role Israel’s public memory of the Holocaust plays in its relations with Palestine, as well as the enduring presence of the Frontier Myth in post-9/11 American politics and culture.

Beyond the field of Holocaust Studies, I am interested in the work of Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, and in particular his exploration of the power dynamics that inform gender relations in modern society. Beyond Film Studies, I am interested in the act of vandalism as a comment of the subject’s interaction with his/hers environment.

Research Groups

Genocide Research Group, Newcastle University

The Film Factory, Newcastle University (co-organiser)

Reading Film, Newcastle University

Teaching

Introduction to International Film (SML1021), Newcastle University

Conferences

Genocide Studies: Sound, Image, Archive, Research Beehive, Newcastle University, 8 November 2013. Panel Chair.

The Future of Holocaust Studies, University of Southampton, July 29th - 31st 2013. Paper: ‘Whose Revenge is it Anyway? Inglourious Basterds, Meta-Cinema, Morality, and the War on Terror’.

Research Centre for Film and Digital Media Seminar Series, Newcastle University, 15th May 2013. Paper: ‘Who’s Revenge is it Anyway? Inglourious Basterds, Morality, and the War on Terror’.

Screening Atrocity: Cinema, Decolonisation and the Holocaust, Newcastle University, 10th January 2013. Responsibilities: co-organiser (with Mani Sharpe, Newcastle University).

Film and Television History, De Montfort University, Leicester, October 2012. Panel Chair.

HASS Faculty Postgraduate Conference, Newcastle University, 2011. Paper: ‘Nazi Perpetrator/German Victim: Bernard Wicki’s The Bridge and Holocaust Memory in Contemporary Germany’.

Postgraduate Symposium, Leeds University, 2010. Paper: ‘Second Generation Israeli Cinema: Myth, Identity, and the Process of Holocaust Remembrance’.

Publications

‘Whose Revenge is it Anyway? Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in the Context of America’s War on Terror’ Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History (forthcoming)

Administrative

Steering Group, Research Centre in Film and Digital Media (2011-present)

Academic Background

MA in Cultural Studies, Leeds University (2009 – 2010)

BA in English Literature and Film Studies, Northumbria University (2005 – 2008)

WEBSITE