HC 434H/421H: Representing the Holocaust

Professor: Monique Balbuena

4.00 credits

  • CRN 22632: Tuesday & Thursday, 1015-1145 @ REMOTE

Graduation Requirement:  This class will fulfill a Arts & Letters Colloquium and a Global Perspectives (GP) area of inquiry requirement.  If the student has already taken a Arts & Letters Colloquium, this class will fulfill both of the following requirements:  an Elective Colloquium and a GP area of inquiry.

The magnitude and unique character of the Holocaust raised questions about the human condition and the human nature, about the divine and its relationship to mankind. The Holocaust defies human comprehension and logic, and challenges language’s expressive powers. Indeed, the extension of its horror cannot be fully expressed or transmitted, and yet, it must be.

But how to represent it? How to say the unspeakable? How can art mediate this reality? How can art help in remembering this reality? Can literature, or, more so, poetry, make the past present, rescue it from oblivion? How can we remember what we have not lived? How can we remember other people’s memories through art?

These are some of the questions that we will ask in this Honors College colloquium on representations of the Holocaust. This course will center on literary responses to the Holocaust, embracing a transnational perspective—with authors hailing from Europe, Israel, and Latin America—and including writers from first, second and third generation. We will also discuss a few films and cover a popular Israeli singer.

Readings will be in English but students who have the option of reading works in the original will be encouraged to do so.