Challenging Denial: from Slavery to the Holocaust

Public Panel Discussion

Event Information and Booking

7th November, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Birkbeck, University of London, Room B33, Torrington Square main entrance, WC1E 7HX
Dr Caroline Bressey, University College London; Dr Keith Kahn-Harris, Birkbeck, University of London and Leo Baeck College; Professor Bruna Seu, Birkbeck, University of London
Holocaust, Law, Psychoanalysis, Slavery
20th century

Laws prohibiting the denial of the Holocaust have been passed in Belgium, the Czech Republic and Germany, among other countries, yet Holocaust denial is still with us, and its proponents continue to find new followers. At the same time, denial contributes to the erasure of the history of African enslavement in UK politics and wider culture. Today, Britain’s role in slavery and its legacy remains widely disregarded.

In bringing together discussions around the Holocaust and slavery, our panel of experts will explore how and why denial operates. Why do individuals and society ‘turn a blind eye’? What drives people to reject the truth? How can psychoanalytic and psychosocial perspectives illumine the processes of denial? And how can the ever-changing forms of denial be challenged and overcome? In an era of fake news, post-truth and alternative facts, these are urgent questions for our times.


Caroline Bressey, Reader in Cultural and Historical Geography at University College London, author of Empire, Race and Anti-Caste (Bloomsbury, 2013).

Keith Kahn-Harris, Senior Lecturer at Leo Baeck College, Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, author of Denial: The Unspeakable Truth (Notting Hill Editions, 2018).

Bruna Seu, Professor of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, author of Passivity Generation: Human Rights and Everyday Morality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Panel discussion chaired by Dr Brendan McGeever, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London.

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