IFO 2022

Disposable Humanity – Film & Discussion

Innsbruck + Nordkette

Dokumentarfilm "Disposable Humanity" von Cameron & David T. Mitchell: An Extended Advance Screening of the Film In Progress: Disposable Humanity is a feature-length documentary on the first gas chamber murders of psychiatric patients prior to the Holocaust (codenamed: Aktion T4). There is a pressing necessity to make a film about Aktion T4. Our primary goal is to spread awareness about the mass murders of disabled people (primarily German nationals housed in psychiatric institutions) before history forgets, public memory dwindles, and key primary and secondary resources have been lost, forgotten, or erased. Grappling with T4 not only expands our understanding of the Holocaust, but substantively transforms it as well. We have secured 100+ hours of interview footage with direct descendants of victims, historical experts, as well as directors and senior guides who operate in all six Euthanasia Memorial Centres (as well as the first gassing of psychiatric patients in Poland and at key transfer institutions that served as holding facilities prior to transport to the killing centers). This material includes footage of all six killing centers as they stand today and original documentation archived in the extensive archives at Hartheim, Grafeneck, and the Bundesarchiv in Berlin, among others.

Homepage & Trailer: https://www.disposablehumanity.com/new-page

Filmdiskussion mit Cameron & David T. Mitchell, Dagmar Hänsel und Patricia Heberer-Rice; Moderation: Josefine Wagner: In der anschließenden Filmdiskussion möchten wir Expert*innen aus Kunst und Wissenschaft zu Wort kommen lassen und dabei cinematographische Elemente, die historischen Themenschwerpunkte des Films und kontemporäre Fragen zu Sondereinrichtungen, Zwangsmaßnahmen und pädagogischer Verantwortung erörtern. Zur Einordnung der NS-Behindertenpolitik in die Ziele der Rassenhygiene und des Vernichtungskrieges gegen Juden, Roma, Homosexuelle und weitere Minderheiten wird Patricia Heberer Rice (USHMM, Washington DC) wertvolle Bezüge herstellen können. Dagmar Hänsel (Universität Bielefeld) wird die Diskussion durch ihre Forschung zu Zwangssterilisierungen von Hilfsschulkindern und der völkischen Sonderpädagogik bereichern und die Filmemacher und Disability Scholars, Cameron und David T. Mitchell (George Washington University), werden durch ihre persönlichen und professionellen Erfahrungen mit dem Film, Einblicke darin geben, was es heißt Archivmaterial und Gedenkstätten für ein zeitgemäßes Publikum relevant und bedeutungsvoll in Szene zu setzen. Die Moderation übernimmt Josefine Wagner (Universität Innsbruck).


Cameron Mitchell (Director & Cinematographer, USA)

Cameron S. Mitchell grew up in the small snow-covered town of Marquette, Michigan. He pursued a double major in Film and Visual Anthropology at Temple University, and made his first and second documentaries "Mehul the Music Teacher" and "Branded" during his time there. He also directed a biographical documentary about Sharon Pinkenson for the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. Cameron started his own production company "CSM Productions" in 2013, the year he graduated. The first commercial he directed for Toyota became Addy Award nominated and spawned a 6+ year relationship with Comcast Spotlight, Toyota, and Philabundance documenting the local efforts of those companies to end food insecurity in the Tri-State area. While directing, Cameron continues to freelance as a cinematographer and Steadicam operator. He has DP'd five feature films to date including The Listing which was presented at the Marché Du Filme at the Cannes Film festival in 2018 and won best feature at the Horror News Net Film Festival. During his career as a director and film freelancer, Cameron has worked with the likes of Ron Howard ("Made in America", 2013), Aaron Sorkin ("Molly's Game", 2017), M. Night Shyamalan ("Split", 2017), Domenica Scorsese ("Almost Paris", 2017), Matthew Weiner ("The Romanoffs", 2018), to name a few. He has lit and shot a share of the Philadelphia Eagles for ESPN Sportscenter among other sports teams. Cameron makes an active effort to contribute new content to the film industry that represents minority viewpoints, including his most recent narrative "The Co-Op" (Premiered at Slamdance 2021, Winner: Bergen International Film Festival) and feature length documentary "Disposable Humanity" (In Production). Both films endeavor to alter the representations of disabled people. 

David T. Mitchell (Co-Director & Scholar, USA )

Professor David Mitchell’s work in disability studies (much of it co-authored with Sharon L. Snyder) includes published scholarship including: six books (The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability [Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1997; Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse [Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2000; Volume 5: An Encyclopedia of Disability in Primary Sources [Thousand Oaks: Sage P, 2005]; Cultural Locations of Disability [Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2006]; The Biopolitics of Disability: Neoliberalism, Ablenationalism, and Peripheral Embodiment [Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2015]; The Matter of Disability: Materiality, Biopolitics, Crip Affect [U of Michigan P, 2019]; more than 35 journal articles and chapters, curated museum exhibits on disability history at the Chicago-based National Vietnam Veterans Memorial Museum, disability film and arts programming for festivals and conferences, the longest running academic book series on Disability Studies in the Humanities with the University of Michigan Press, and, most importantly for this project, four award-winning documentary films:  Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back (1995); A World Without Bodies (2002); Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer (2005); and Disability Takes on the Arts (2006).  David's work stands at the base of some of the most influential and guiding innovations in disability studies and the contemporary understanding of disability as a critical facet of human embodiment.  His work is routinely taught on syllabi across the country and the world and he is actively sought out for international lectures of noteworthiness. In 2007 his film work with Professor Sharon Snyder on disability arts, history, and culture was honored by the Munich Film Museum for its transformative influence on contemporary media portrayals of disabled people. He is currently at work on two new book projects, the first regarding Aktion T4 about which this conference's film screening of "Disposable Humanity" is centered and also a book on representations of crip/queer identities in contemporary African American literature.

Dagmar Hänsel (Scholar, Germany)

 Statement zum Film "Disposable Humanity"

Professor Dr. Dagmar Hänsel war an der Fakultät für Erziehungswissenschaft der Universität Bielefeld von 1981 bis 2008 als Professorin im Bereich Schulpädagogik mit dem Schwerpunkt Grundschule tätig. Sie hatte die erste Professur inne, die in der 1980 neu gegründeten Fakultät besetzt wurde, und war 1991 die erste Dekanin der Fakultät. Sie gründete die Lernwerkstatt als zentrale Einrichtung der Fakultät und entwickelte mit dem Studiengang „Integrierte Sonderpädagogik“ (ISP) ein bundesweit neues Modell der integrierten allgemeinen und sonderpädagogischen Lehrer*innenausbildung. Ihr besonderes Forschungsinteresse ist es, den Blick der Schultheorie und der historischen Bildungsforschung für die Sonderschule und die Sonderpädagogik und damit für dort vernachlässigte Zusammenhänge zu öffnen. Zu ihren zahlreichen, wissenschaftlichen Werken zählen u.a.: Sonderschule im Nationalsozialismus: Die Magdeburger Hilfsschule als Modell (2019); Sonderschullehrerausbildung im Nationalsozialismus (2014); Karl Tornow als Wegbereiter der sonderpädagogischen Profession: Die Grundlegung des Bestehenden in der NS Zeit (2008).

EnglishProfessor Dr. Dagmar Hänsel served as a professor for pedagogy with a focus on primary schooling at the faculty of education at the University of Bielefeld from 1981 to 2008. She held the first professorship of the newly inaugurated faculty in 1980 and became its first dean in 1991. She founded the “learning lab” as an integral part of the faculty and developed the study program for “integrated special education,” a new, unique model across Germany that integrated general and special teacher education training. Her research interests focus on schooling theory and the historiography of education, especially with regard to special schools, special education, and the tensions that have been hitherto ignored by the discipline itself. Her numerous, academic publications include the following monographies: Special School under National Socialism: The Magdeburg Help School as a Model School (2019); Special Educator Training in the Time of National Socialism (2014); Karl Tornow as a forerunner of the special education profession: The basis for existing [knowledges and practices] in the time of the NS (2008).      

Patricia Heberer Rice (Senior Historian, USA)

Dr. Patricia Heberer Rice is the Senior Historian and director of the Office of the Senior Historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. She has served as an historian with the Museum’s Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies since 1994. There she serves as a Museum specialist on medical crimes and eugenics policies in Nazi Germany. Dr. Heberer Rice earned her baccalaureate and masters degrees from Southern Illinois University; she pursued doctoral studies at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Maryland, receiving her Ph.D. from the latter institution.  In addition to contributions to several USHMM publications, she has recently authored a source edition, Children during the Holocaust, a volume in the Center’s series, Documenting Life and Destruction, appearing in 2011. A further publication, Atrocities on Trial: The Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes in Historical Perspective, co-edited with Juergen Matthäus, appeared in 2008 with the University of Nebraska Press.

Josefine Wagner (Host & Postdoc, Austria)

Dr. Josefine Wagner is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. For her doctoral work, Josefine prepared a multi-sited ethnography of policies and practices on inclusive education in  Poland, Austria and Germany. She was a 2020 Visiting Fellow at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington DC where she worked on her research project, titled: Continuities and Ruptures of Eugenic Discourses in Special Needs Education. She will be a participant in the Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar on Bioethics, Disease, and the Holocaust at USHMM in 2022.

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