Academic book wins prestigious prize

'Concentrationary Cinema: Aesthetics as Political Resistance in Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog' has been awarded the prestigious Kraszna-Krausz Prize for the best book of 2011 on the moving image.

The book is edited by Professors Griselda Pollock (Art History and Cultural Analysis) and Max Silverman (French Literature and Cultural Studies) of the University of Leeds.  The book and a number of its images are on display as part of the World Photography Festival at Somerset House, London.

Professors Pollock and Silverman have introduced into English-language film and cultural studies the French term 'concentrationary', coined in 1945 by French political prisoners returning from the concentration camps of Germany.  In an innovative re-reading of Alain Resnais's iconic commemorative film 'Night and Fog' (1955), the editors and the contributors to the collection reframe the film as an attempt to represent 'the concentrationary universe' not as a closed chapter in history, but as the political beginning of a new menace that stalks contemporary society in new guises and spaces.

Based on an eighteen-month seminar at the University of Leeds in which leading scholars on 'Night and Fog' were invited to reappraise the film in the light of theories of the concentrationary universe and concentrationary art, this book is the first interdisciplinary critical study of a film made for the tenth anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps.

Since 2007 Griselda Pollock and Max Silverman have co-directed a research project on 'Concentrationary Memories: The Politics of Representation' funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  Two doctoral theses have been completed by Benjamin Hannavy Couzen (2011) and Matthew John (2012).  Three more volumes are in preparation: 'Concentrationary Memories', 'Concentrationary Imaginaries', 'Concentrationary Art'.

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