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 was presented to school classes with the students being 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


Frauke Teichmann: Promoting Media Literacy with Interactive Digital Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors

An empirical study on media-ethical issues from a student perspective

This dissertation project aims to empirically research the innovative learning medium of interactive digital testimonies of Holocaust survivors from a media-ethical perspective. The digital survey will allow pupils to interact with the digital testimony of Jewish Holocaust survivor Abba Naor. In communicative contexts, receptive and productive engagements with the interactive digital learning medium will then be investigated with regard to moral value formation. The dissertation project follows the basic assumption that moral values cannot be generated intentionally (by teachers or researchers, for example), but are implemented as a "passive moment" (as maintained by Hans Joas) through the experience of being deeply moved. In the context of the dissertation project, the emergence of such emotional involvement and expressions of desirability after the encounter with the interactive digital testimony will be investigated. These affective emotions can be seen as the basis of the "passive moment" of value formation.

The aim of the project is to investigate the connections between the following areas: the impulses for moral value formation regarding the significant topic of the Holocaust triggered in encounters with an interactive digital learning medium. The following research questions reflect my scientific interest:

  • How do pupils perceive the interactive digital media format?
  • Which affective emotions do interactive digital testimonies trigger in pupils?
  • Can an interactive digital testimony influence the formation of moral values in pupils?

Contact: frauke.teichmann@germanistik.uni-muenchen.de