Between the Document and the Digital Map: The Need for the Archive and GIS to Analyze the Nazi Built Environment

 >  > Paul Jaskot Digital Dialogue

Paul Jaskot

DePaul University
Speaker Website
Collaboratory for Visual Culture
Monday, March 30, 2015
12:30 pm
Co-sponsored by the Art History & Archaeology Department

Please note that this Digital Dialogue is a special co-sponsored talk in conjunction the Art History & Archaeology Department, and occurs on a different weekday and location.

The Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture is located in Room 4213 of the Art and Sociology Building.

The Central Building Office at Auschwitz was for its time one of the largest architectural offices in Europe with over 150 SS architects and engineers employed as well as an equal number of forced-labor draftsmen. It was these architects who literally built the infrastructure of imperialist expansion in the East, as well was the brutal complementary structures of the Jewish genocide.

This talk analyzes the documentary evidence of the imperial ambitions of the SS as well as the digital visualizations of that archival evidence. Building off of his current work on digitally mapping the site (with his co-author, Anne Kelly Knowles), Jaskot asks what is at stake for digital mapping in the humanities, as well as for a spatial and architectural understanding of the Holocaust.

Paul Jaskot is professor of art history at DePaul University and, currently, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (National Gallery). His specific area of research has mostly focused on the cultural history of National Socialist Germany and its postwar impact on art and architecture. He has published a number of essays that explored the political function of architecture in the modern period, leading up to his most recent book The Nazi Perpetrator: Postwar German Art and the Politics of the Right (Minnesota 2012).  These interests have also led to his involvement over the past decade with the Holocaust Geography Collaborative, a coalition of 8 international scholars who specialize in both Holocaust Studies and GIS. Their research has most recently resulted in the anthology Geographies of the Holocaust (2014) for which Jaskot co-authored three chapters. He is currently exploring with Anne Kelly Knowles the potential for using Historical GIS to explore issues of forced labor and the construction industry in Nazi Germany.  In addition to his research, Jaskot has served as President of the College Art Association (2008-2010).

A continuously updated schedule of talks is also available on the Digital Dialogues webpage.

Unable to attend the events in person? Archived podcasts can be found on the MITH website, and you can follow our Digital Dialogues Twitter account @digdialog as well as the Twitter hashtag #mithdd to keep up with live tweets from our sessions. Viewers can watch the live stream as well.

All talks free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunches.

Contact: MITH (,, 301.405.8927).