Representations of the Holocaust
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Liberal Studies
Course Number: GLIB 5147
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
Topics:
  • Liberal Arts
  • History
Description:
The course is not designed as a historical survey of the Nazi period or of the holocaust (or “Shoah”), that is, of Nazi efforts to exterminate the Jews of Europe, though inevitably some attention will be paid to actual events and to disputes about the origins and implications of those events. The primary focus will be the efforts of gifted writers and artists in several genres to represent the holocaust and to make sense of it. Students will study and discuss the issues associated with “representation,” considering the many competing versions of “the truth” at issue in particular films, stories, poems, historical accounts and philosophical reflections. They will also consider the role of ideology in shaping responses to the holocaust, and study the relation between different kinds of truth and truth-telling. What kind of truth is revealed by a narrative film (like Louis Malle’s “Lacombe, Lucien”) as contrasted with the “truths” revealed by a great documentary film (like Alain Resnais’ “Night and Fog”)? What is the difference between a frankly idea-driven book like Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem” and works purporting to offer apparently straightforward documentary evidence? Such questions will be asked in an effort to ascertain what can be yielded when events are examined through a particular lens or by means of a particular methodology.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions