CFA: Re-thinking the Muselmann - Special Ussue of Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust

Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust

Call for Papers for the Special Issue: 

Re-thinking the Muselmann: Narratives, Concepts, and Social Realities

The so-called Muselmann was a figure known to nearly all Nazi concentration camp prisoners. The literature on the topic portrays the Muselmänner as those prisoners who had fallen to a near-death condition and lost their human features, thus making them the extreme emblem of Nazi atrocities. Previous studies have addressed the Muselmann primarily from a medical, etymological, or philosophical perspective. This special issue takes a different approach.It does not view the Muselmann as an irrevocable condition inevitably ending in death, but as a transitory condition of the human body brought about by the psychological and social consequences of its extreme context. As an integral part of prisoner society, the Muselmann participated actively in the social and economic life of concentration camps and had a major impact on its symbolic, material and social order.

As almost any prisoner could become a Muselmann, our approach offers insights into social structures and processes within concentration camps across categories of gender, age, nationality, class and Nazi persecution label. Examining the Muselmann as a narrative in survivors’ texts and other literary genres furthermore provides insight into post-war conceptualizations of camps, suffering, death, and survival.

We invite scholars from all disciplines to contribute to this issue. Papers may focus on, but are not limited to the following topics:

  • The term Muselmann in relation to the multiple groups and languages of the camps
  • Representations of the Muselmann by different groups of prisoners (and perpetrators) and in postwar depictions of diverse genres
  • Making/Unmaking the Muselmann – the role of this category in shaping social order, attitude, and behaviour among concentration camp inmates
  • Differences between camps and camp sections regarding the presence of and conditions for Muselmänner
  • Muselmänner as actors: testimonies of surviving Muselmänner and the representation of their survival strategies
  • The Muselmann and Gender

Please submit your proposals, including titles, abstracts (600 words max.), and a short bio (200 words) by July 30, 2017 in Word format to:

Michael Becker and Dennis Bock, Special Issue editors