Margaret Comer '08, a Postdoctoral Member at the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre, presented a virtual Convocation about her research on the project 'Sites at Risk: Guidelines for Best Practice', funded by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) for the Bryn Mawr community in Spring 2020. 

After graduating from Bryn Mawr, Margaret attended the University of California, Berkeley, from which she received a BA in Anthropology. Margaret also holds an MPhil in Archaeology (Archaeological Heritage and Museums) from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Archaeology (Heritage Studies) from the University of Cambridge, funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust.

Currently, Margaret is a Research Assistant on the project 'Sites at Risk: Guidelines for Best Practice', funded by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). In an environment of increasing Holocaust distortion and denial throughout Europe, the preservation of physical sites of Holocaust violence is crucial to both preserving the memory of Holocaust victims and communicating the perils of xenophobic and bigoted political movements. However, many of these sites are at risk of damage or destruction from many sources, including climate change, neglect, unchecked development, and politically-motivated violence. The 'Sites at Risk' project aims to identify these types of risk as they relate to Holocaust sites and then draft 'best practices' guidelines to protect these sites.

Margaret's doctoral dissertation title was 'The Heritage of Repression: Memory, Commemoration, and Politics in Post-Soviet Russia'. It focused on changing patterns of commemoration and memorialization of Soviet repression at sites in Russia connected to the former gulag system and Great Terror, with a special focus on concepts of 'grievability' (as conceived by Judith Butler) and my complementary concept of 'blameability'. It also introduced a theoretical model for categorizing and thinking through heritage sites' representations of victims and perpetrators.