Henry Greenspan

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Hank Greenspan

Lecturer, Social Theory and Practice; Faculty Scholar Integrative Medicine; Faculty Fellow, Mellon Faculty Institute on Arts Academic Integration; Academic Advisor

Office Location(s): B864 East Quad
Phone: 734.763.0179

  • About

    Henry Greenspan is an oral historian, playwright,  and social & clinical psychologist whose teaching and writing has primarily focused on the Holocaust and genocide. He began interviewing Holocaust survivors in the 1970s – before most such projects began – and he continues to meet with some of the same survivors today. Thus, unlike most “testimony” or “oral history” projects, Greenspan’s focus has been the process of retelling such experiences over the course of many years of sustained conversation.

    In 2011, Greenspan co-led the Hess seminar for Professors of Holocaust Courses at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  In 2012, he was the Fulbright Visting Research Chair at Concordia University in Montreal, working on a large project on refugees from genocide and political violence who found their way to Canada.His play, REMNANTS, has been peformed at more than 300 venues worldwide.

    Greenspan’s wider interests include moral choice within extreme contexts like  war and genocide as well as in more everyday situations, especially the workplace. More particularly, he is interested in moral choice in the context of corporations; most specifically, within the pharmaceutical industry. He is the founder of Justice in Michigan, a non-partisan group of social scientists, policy analysts, and physicans concerned with legal rights and health policy.

    He actively consults on oral history projects both within and outside UM.

    Recent Courses

    Moral Choice in Context: Social Psychological and Historical Perspectives

    Listening to Holocaust Survivors: Psychological and Historical Perspectives

    Pills, Politics, and the Public Good: Ethical Crossroads and the Pharmaceutical Industry.

    A Practicum in Oral History

     Recent Publications

    "Treblinka and the Ardent Lover," Oral History Review, May 1, 2015, Oxford University Press Blog

    “The Unsaid, The Incommunicable, The Unbearable, and the Irretrievable,” in The Oral History Review Vol 41, No. 2, Fall 2014.

    Guest Editor and Contributor, “Scholars’ Forum: Engaging Survivors--Assessing ‘Testimony’ and ‘Trauma’ as Foundational Concepts,” Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust Vol 24, no. 3, Fall 2014

    “From Testimony to Recounting: Reflections on Forty Years of Listening to Holocaust Survivors,” chapter in Beyond Testimony and Trauma: Oral History in the Aftermath of Mass Violence, ed. Steven High, University of British Columbia Press, 2014.

    “Voices, Places, and Spaces” chapter in Remembering War, Genocide and other Human Rights Violations: Oral History, New Media and the Arts, ed. Steven High, University of Toronto Press,  2014.

    Afterword."Confronting Mass Atrocity,"
     Special Issue of the Oral History Forum d'histoire orale (33) 2013  

     “Collaborative Interpretation of Survivors’ Accounts: A Radical Challenge to Conventional Practice,” Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, Spring 2011. 

    “Survivor Testimony,” chapter in The Oxford Handbook on Holocaust Studies, eds. Peter Hayes and John Roth, Oxford University Press, 2010.

     “On Testimony, Legacy, and the Problem of Helplessness in History,” Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, Summer 2007.

     “What Makes an Interview an Interview? Notes from Listening to Holocaust Survivors,” co-authored with Sidney Bolkosky,  Poetics Today: The Humanities of Testimony, ed. Geoffrey Hartman, special issue, Spring 2006.

    “The Awakening of Memory: Survivor Testimony in the First Years after Liberation, and Today,”
    Annual Weinmann Lecture, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Washington, DC.


    Books Published

    On Listening to Holocaust Survivors (first published 1998; revised and expanded edition, 2010).

    Reflections: Auschwitz, Memory, and a Life Recreated (with Agi Rubin), 2007

    Remnants (a play) htc.miami.edu/plays/remnants