A podcast interview with John Roth, the Edward J. Sexton Professor of Philosophy and director of The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, is available through the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Voices on Genocide Prevention program with Jerry Fowler, this year's William F. Podlich Distinguished Visitor and the first visiting scholar at The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights.
Roth's discussion, Memory and Ethics (http://blogs.ushmm.org/index.php/COC2), shares his thoughts on the ethical responsibility that memory imposes upon human beings. As discussed in The Holocaust and the Common Good, an essay in his new book, Ethics During and After the Holocaust: In the Shadow of Birkenau, Roth discusses how memory shapes our values and our choices. (A complete transcript of the interview also is made available online.)
Roth's goal with his most recent book, he tells Fowler, was to ask what happened to ethics, both during the Holocaust and after it.
"I think this event had a huge impact on ethics, if only because it showed how weak ethics can be, how it can even be used and subverted to advance and legitimate causes of murder and killing and genocide," Roth says.
During the interview, Roth also describes to Fowler his interpretation of the meaning of ethics.
The podcast brings together two revered scholars on Holocaust and genocide studies. Roth, a prolific author who finished his most recent book as the 2004-2005 Ina Levine Invitational Scholar at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, helped bring Fowler to CMC this year, where he teaches Genocide & Mass Violence Since the Holocaust. As the first staff director for the Committee on Conscience at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Fowler guided the Museum's genocide prevention and response efforts, which involved finding ways for the non-partisan Museum to honor the memory of those who died in the Holocaust while becoming involved in efforts to deal with ongoing genocides and episodes of mass violence.
Access to the podcast interview between Fowler and Roth will be visible on the Voices on Genocide Prevention Web page through Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006, and thereafter, permanently, as part of the program's archives.
Roth retires at the end of the fall semester, following a 40-year career at Claremont McKenna College.