History | Memory of the Holocaust
B303 | 12055 | E. Lambert

Above class open to undergraduates only

In 21st century America, the Holocaust remains a central event in
our political, moral, and cultural universe.  We are familiar with
the imagery of the Holocaust, from video footage and newsreels
depicting the liberation of concentration and death camps through
recent documentary films and thousands of video testimonies.  More
recently, Hollywood has given us popular films such as Schindler’s
List and The Pianist, the Producers has been a Broadway smash, and
in 2005 the Holocaust memoir Night was an Oprah’s book club
selection.  Likewise, over 25 million people have visited the US
Holocaust Memorial Museum since its 1993 dedication.  In short,
despite the fact that the Holocaust ended over 60 years ago, it has
become increasingly central to American, and Western, history and
cultural identity.

A multi-media study, this course traces ways in which writers,
artists, filmmakers, composers and scholars have responded to the
victims and perpetrators, events and sites of the Holocaust.  We
will trace commemoration of the Holocaust from liberation and the
Nuremberg Trials to the publication of Anne Frank’s diary and trial
of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, which brought the Holocaust to the
forefront of international memory, spurring the creation of
countless international museums and other memorial sites.  We will
consider questions including: How is it possible to describe and
represent the Holocaust in writing?  In art?  In film?  In history?
What distinguishes the ways in which different generations
remember?  How has the memory of these events been preserved and
transmitted through commemorative sites? and What role does the
memory of the Holocaust play in the life of contemporary Jews?  In
order to answer these questions, we will examine and compare ways
that the Holocaust has been represented in different time periods,
media and pop culture—including art, film, photography, fiction,
memoirs, memorial sites, even comic books—we will consider what the
Holocaust means in our contemporary world.

Readings for this course will be available online, through E-
reserves or Oncourse.  Assignments include a short paper based on a
Holocaust memoir (3-5 pages) and a mini-research paper on a
Holocaust memorial site (5-7 pages).  Further requirements include
contributions to group projects, active in-class participation and
brief writing assignments.  While some shorter films will be shown
in class, there will be a few evening film screenings, with the
movies on reserve in Wells Library for private viewing.