Rhetorical genre studies; public memory; rhetorical analysis; holocaust memory


This spring marked the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis and the end of the Holocaust in Europe. Memory of this genocide has occupied a central place in Israeli identity since the establishment of the state. This thesis explores the history of Holocaust memory in Israel and examines how public memory is constructed in the present, as the era of the survivor draws to a close and commemorative efforts linked to survivors take on a sense of urgency. The contemporary memorial places examined in this study are part of Yad Vashem, Israel*s premier institution for Holocaust commemoration. The thesis focuses on the museum*s Hall of Names and its analogous web space, the Central Database of Shoah Victims* Names. Specifically, I draw on two concepts from Rhetorical Genre Studies—the chronotope (Bakhtin) and antecedent genre (Jamieson)—to examine the relationship between genre and the making of public memory. The findings of this analysis point to the importance of the antecedent genre of Holocaust testimony in the construction of public memory at Yad Vashem. Through a chronotopic analysis of the Hall of Names and the Central Database, I found that the genre of testimony changed across these spaces to ideologically construct memory in different ways. It is in the Hall of Names and Central Database*s repurposing of the testimonial genre, and the expression of this genre through chronotopic arrangement in each of these locations, that a legacy of social concerns coalesces into the memorial expression of the contemporary moment. This study contributes to scholarship on the rhetorical construction of public memory and Rhetorical Genre Studies. First, it suggests the importance of genre and genre change in considerations of the rhetorical construction of public memory. Second, it suggests additional considerations in determining how context affects genre and vice versa when features of time and space are especially salient for meaning-making. Specifically, these findings suggest additional complexity in the relationship between genre and the chronotope: genre change across contexts may result from a genre*s integration into places with different space/time arrangements.


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Graduation Date





Rounsaville, Angela


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities


Writing and Rhetoric








Release Date

August 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities