Learning with digital testimonies (LediZ)

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Florian Duda: Emotions in Language and Image

The Representation of Proximity and Distance in Multimodal Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors

The dissertation will focus on the connection between emotion and language in video interviews and interactive testimonies in which Holocaust survivors speak about loss. Although sadness as a basic emotion, that is often associated with loss and death, is just as important in everyday life as it’s counterpart, joy, those discourse topics that deal with these negatively connotated topics tend to be underrepresented in communicative debates (Foucault & Konersmann 1991). A group of people who addresses these negative topics and who received little attention so far within the German-speaking discourse of cognitive linguistics, and will therefore be focused, are the contemporary witnesses of the Holocaust.

Proximity and distance as categories refer to the different coding of emotions which on the one hand can take place directly verbalized and/or visible in facial expressions and on the other hand distanced through (seemingly) objective reporting. Furthermore, the study will contribute to the research of multimodal communication in the field of Holocaust studies by extending the mainly language focused analysis by including image data.

The multimodal analyses focus on the following epistemological questions:

  • How are emotions verbally encoded and which concepts and mental models underlie these encodings?
  • How are emotions marked on a non- and paraverbal level?
  • What is the relationship between verbal, non- and paraverbal modalities?
  • What new approaches and readings of eyewitness interviews can multimodal analyses provide?

Contact: Florian.Duda@germanistik.uni-muenchen.de


Ernst Hüttl: Comparing Analogue and Digital Contemporary Witness Conversations at Schools

Commonalities and Differences from the Pupils' Perspective

Visits by contemporary witnesses, especially by Holocaust survivors, have become an integral part of the curriculum at many German schools. This access to historical events of the Nazi era will either come to an end or undergo a change in the foreseeable future, for example through the use of interactive digital 3D testimonies. This study focuses on a comparison of analogue and digital contemporary witness conversations. From January to March 2020, Abba Naor was accompanied to schools in the Munich area, documenting the events in reports and photographs. In subsequent interviews with schoolchildren of different age groups, the impact of the event was investigated, regarding the perception person of the witness and his or her narrative, the framework and procedure, individual previous knowledge and emotions, as well as any difficulties in interaction. In a second wave of the survey, Abba Naor's interactive digital 3D testimony will be presented in schools and the students will be interviewed in a similar way.

The data obtained will be evaluated using the Grounded Theory methodology. The aim of the study is to gain insights in the following areas:

  • How are the two testimonial formats perceived in terms of their especialness, authenticity and emotional intensity?
  • What are the strengths, weaknesses and significant characteristics of the two testimonial formats?
  • How are technical or human difficulties in interaction assessed?

Contact: ernst.huettl@germanistik.uni-muenchen.de