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The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention

Mission of the Center

The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention promotes innovative research, curricula and pedagogies leading to the deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of genocide and mass violence.

The Schaeffer Center is a space for critical conversations that connect the past and future and brings together renowned academics as well as creating opportunities for prospective researchers.

The Center engages with its mission topics through conferences, lectures, and workshops. It is incorporated into the AUP community, encouraging and enabling research and resources for students, faculty and staff as well as hosting lectures and conferences on campus. One of the Centers most valued resources is the Visual History Archive and the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust testimonies, which has provided an important role in disseminating new insights into the origins of collective hatred, mass violence, and the aftereffects of historical, social and individual memory.

The Founders



Our generous donors dreamed of bringing the Visual History Archive to France and facilitating a space for research into mass violence and the prevention of genocide. Learn more about their work here.

The Community at AUP


Director of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention

Professor Schiff works with AUP faculty, students and the broader research community to provide cross-disciplinary scholarship on the contributions of the archives to the possibility of enduring peace and understanding. Read Brian's full bio here.  


Assistant Director of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention.

As a historian, Constance contributes to the scientific agenda of the Center. She defended her Ph.D. in History at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes an Sciences Sociales in 2017. Her research, entitled “The Everlastingness of our People”: An American Jewish Socialist Aid in the Yiddish Diaspora, the Jewish Labor Committee in Postwar France (1944-49)”, focuses on the transnational relation between Yidish speaking socialists – mainly Bundists and left wing Zionists – in America and France in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust and deals with social work, displacement and migration of Holocaust survivors, Yiddish culture, identity, memory, politics and labor during the early Cold War.

Her current research concerns are Holocaust memory in Yiddish and the use of testimonies in historical research on mass violence. Read Constance's full bio here.


Administrator and Communications Coordinator of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention.

Kira also supervises the viewing of the Archives at AUP and assists in research projects. She completed her BA in psychology at AUP in 2021 and has experience in a variety of social work. 

The Scientific Committee


Professor Feldman joined the Global Communications faculty at AUP in 2018. Before that, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University, after earning a Ph.D. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University in 2017. Her dissertation considered how advances in the surveillance of cell phone data, decentralized mobile networks, and vocal affective monitoring software are changing the ways in which listening exerts power and frames social and political possibilities. This research was funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation to support interdisciplinary research on privacy and democracy across the social sciences and engineering. She is also an artist whose work has been exhibited and performed internationally. She received an MFA from Bard in 2007 and taught media and sound art at Temple University and The New School from 2009-2012. She often collaborates with designers and combines theory and practice in her teaching and her research. Read Jessica’s full bio here.


Caroline D. Laurent is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies whose interdisciplinary research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century French and Francophone literatures and cultures, with special emphasis on Metropolitan France, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. Professor Laurent notably specializes in comparative genocide studies in relation to literature and art. Her book manuscript, The Words of Others: Remembering and Writing Genocide as an Indirect Witness, examines literary and graphic representations of genocidal violence (the Holocaust, the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and the Khmers rouges’ violence and genocide in Cambodia). She is particularly interested in the perspectives of indirect witnesses and in issues related to transgenerational transmission of trauma. She has published several articles on these questions in Nouvelles études francophones, French Cultural Studies, and Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. Read Caroline’s full bio here.


Miranda Spieler is an historian of the French colonial empire whose work focuses on the relationship between law and violence. She is the author of Empire and Underworld (Harvard, 2012), which was awarded the George L. Mosse Prize and the J. Russell Major Prize from the American Historical Association in 2013. As Faculty Fellow, she is researching the prosecution of masters for atrocities in nineteenth-century French colonies with a focus on the problem of slave testimony. She is also completing a book project entitled Slaves in Paris: Scenes from an Imperial Capital, which examines the history of slaves in France during the long eighteenth century.

She spent the academic year 2017-2018 as an external fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center working on her book, Slaves in Paris, which is under contract with Harvard University Press. Read Miranda’s full bio here.