Thorson, Helga

Associate Professor


Phone number: (250) 721-7320
Department: Germanic and Slavic Studies

Research description:

- Late 19th- and early 20th-century German and Austrian literature and cultural studies
- Scandinavian Studies
- Holocaust studies
Expertise Profile
Dr. Helga Thorson is the co-founder of the I-witness Holocaust Field School at the University of Victoria, the only course of its kind offered to undergraduate students in a Canadian university.

The unique field school explores how the memories and history of the Holocaust have been preserved at historical sites, museums and monuments in central Europe, and helps build an understanding of how the lessons of that time are relevant today.

Dr. Thorson and two former field school participants have launched a "Local Stories of the Holocaust" archive, a collection point for local life stories of individuals who experienced the Holocaust directly.

Whether she is bringing in a Holocaust survivor to speak in one of her classes or having students present their work to the community for a class on Vienna 1900, Dr. Thorson is committed to connecting students to the community at large. She makes every effort to include a hands-on and experiential learning dimension in all her courses.

Her other research concentrates on Austrian modernist literature, with a specific focus on issues of gender and Jewish identity.

Together with a colleague from Ottawa, Dr. Thorson is working on a manuscript focusing on middle-class women's movements in the Habsburg Monarchy in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Related Links
Dr. Thorson's Faces of UVic Research video:

International research:

Helga Thorson co-founded an international research collective with the title "The Future of Holocaust Memorialization: Confronting Racism, Antisemitism, and Homophobia through Memory Work."

Countries lived or worked in:

USA, Germany



Community projects

Together with two former students, Dr. Thorson co-created an archival project that seeks to collect stories from residents of Victoria and Vancouver Island whose lives were affected by the Holocaust.

UVic Speakers bureau

Helga Thorson takes part in the UVic Speakers Bureau.
More information about the Speakers Bureau can be found here.

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