Scribner Seminar Program
Representations of the Holocaust
Instructor(s): Robert Boyers, English
Why does the “holocaust” (or “Shoah”) continue to attract study and debate more than sixty years after the end of World War Two? Why do film directors and creative writers continue to build compelling works around the events that unfolded, principally in Europe, during the years between 1933 and 1945? Why do current debates focused on contemporary political issues often contain references to the efforts of Nazi functionaries and ordinary citizens of Germany, Poland, Hungary and other countries to “exterminate” the Jews of Europe?
This course will address these questions, in part by inviting students to think about the events of the Nazi period. But its primary focus will be the effort of film directors, fiction writers and others to represent those events and to make sense of them. Students will study and discuss the issues associated with “representation”, considering the many competing versions of “the truth” at issue in particular films, novels, historical accounts and survivor testimonies.