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Marianne Golding (pictured with Dan Morris) will offer a Campus Theme lecture

“Uncertainty” series tackles incomplete accounts of three Jewish WWII refugees

Southern Oregon University French professor and Summer Language Institute director Marianne Golding will present a “Campus Theme” lecture this month on World War II France.

The free lecture, which is part of SOU’s Campus Theme lecture series, will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the Hannon Library’s Meese Room. It follows the uncertain journey of three young Jewish refugees from Germany and Czechoslovakia and the women who helped them escape from German-occupied France.

Each year’s Campus Theme lectures examine a common premise, and this year it’s “uncertainty.” The first lecture in the series was by Stanley Crawford, who talked about his legal fight against a large garlic importing company. The second lecture was by Cailin O’Connor, who discussed the spread of misinformation and the inherent uncertainty of our beliefs.

Golding’s lecture will touch upon uncertainty by examining some of the errors found in personal and official archives and biographies. An American Sign Language interpreter will translate the lecture.

“(Holocaust survivors) who were never able to share their stories, because it was too painful to share them or because they died before they were ready to do so, one has to rely on a mixture of historical facts, which are sometimes erroneous or incomplete, and other people’s memories, which can also be erroneous or incomplete,” Golding said.

The lecture is especially important and personal for Golding. One of the three survivors she will talk about is her father.

“I loved my father dearly and felt guilty that I hadn’t tried to find more about his past while he was alive,” she said. “I feel I am honoring him with the research I am doing now, and also understanding so much more the reasons why he behaved the way he did, why he couldn’t share emotions or talk about his childhood – like so many other war refugees.”

Golding grew up outside of Paris before receiving her doctorate in French Literature from UCLA. She became a French language professor at SOU 1998, and teaches beginning through advanced French courses. She is particularly interested in autobiographies, feminist literature, and French-speaking literature, culture and film. She has authored the second edition of “The Graded French Reader” and various articles and conference presentations.

She has also been the director of SOU’s Summer Language Institute since 2014. The Summer Language Institute offers French teachers a masters degree in teaching French. The program takes three summers to complete and is held in Angers, France.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer