Charlotte Kiechel is a historian of the 20th century Europe with research expertise in the history of decolonization, human rights, and Holocaust and Genocide Studies. A PhD Candidate in the History Department, she is completing a dissertation which uncovers Holocaust memory’s role in the anticolonial campaigns of the global Cold War.
On October 16, 2021 I presented at the New York Association of European Historians’ annual conference in Syracuse, New York. The title of my paper was “Ending Torture at the End of Empire: Revisiting the Precedent of France’s Anti-Torture Lobby (1957-1961),” and my paper highlighted some of my dissertation’s research. During my presentation, I discussed the importance of an anti-torture lobby that was active during the French-Algerian War and I argued that the lobby’s tactics activism represents a critical case study in the longer history of human rights. More specifically, I argued that in the face of France’s late colonial atrocities the lobby’s activists employed an early form of “naming and shaming” activism that would later become a defining feature in late twentieth century human rights.
Professor Richard Fogarty (University of Albany) who is president of the New York Association of European Historians served as the commentator for my presentation. Through the conference, I was able to meet many other European historians and I am looking forward to keeping in contact with these near colleagues in the future. I thank the European Studies Council for its support.