Humanities 483: History and Literature in the Holocaust

Happy Thursday everyone! Today we are introducing a brand new class we are very excited about. This course will count for a world literature credit for English majors and there is no prerequisite of English 290. Humanities 483: History and Literature in the Holocaust is going to be team taught by Dr. Valerie Murrenus Pilmaier and Dr. Mark Karau.

Here’s some insight into the course from Dr. Pilmaier and Dr. Karau:

HUM 483 is an interdisciplinary learning community for majors that explores the history and literature of The Holocaust (also known as The Shoah). With equal emphasis on history (as taught by a historian specializing in German history) and literature (as taught by a literature professor specializing in trauma theory), this class is one of the only of its kind offered in Wisconsin and the nation. Given the rise of alt-right politics in America and abroad, this is a timely and necessary examination of the factors, people and events that led to the mass execution of millions. This course engages students in the study of the political and cultural factors that lead to the Holocaust, the ramifications of the Holocaust on the perpetrators, victims and the world, the after-effects of the Holocaust and its resonances today. The literature (including Elie Wiesel’s Night, Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, Charlotte Delbo’s Auschwitz and After, Art Spiegelman’s Maus I & II and Ruth Kluger’s Still Alive) affords a personal take on the lived experiences of the persecuted, the survivors, and the children of survivors. We will compare the voice, motivation and message of first and second-generation memoir to contemporary uses of The Holocaust as a theme or trope by examining the films Bent, Schindler’s List and JoJo Rabbit. Students will analyze memoir, poetry, drama, graphic novel, short story, film and documentary to explore trauma theory, the genre characteristics of Holocaust Literature and how genre characteristics change with the passing of time. As foundational history, students will read Doris Bergen’s War and Genocide, Christopher Browning’s Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German Killers and Gitta Sereny’s Into That Darkness.

Be sure to check out this one of a kind class!