CC 300 BX: Memories of Nazism in Literature and Film: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

CC 300 BX: Memories of Nazism in Literature and Film: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

3 Credits – Cross-listed with GER 300
MWF 12:30-1:20 pm – Professor Malchow

Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

How people remember the past influences how they understand themselves and behave in the future. In this course, we will compare the diverse ways that German speakers have represented the Nazi past in prose, drama, and film with those more familiar to Americans. Students will also learn about the interdisciplinary field of memory studies and apply some of its insights to this comparison. Representations of Nazism from various eras and contexts demonstrate not only that speakers of German and English have tended to remember differently, but also that within a nation-state, cultural memory changes across time. We will examine the divergent forms of public memory in East and West Germany during the Cold War and the resurgent emphasis on German wartime suffering since Germany’s unification in 1990, asking what role ideologies play in how memories are represented. We will also explore criticisms of American texts and movies about Nazis and the Holocaust, as well as the tendency in the U.S. on both the left and the right to invoke the Holocaust as an analogy for rhetorical purposes. We will consider when comparisons to Nazism are valid and what ethical problems they pose. Students will read, view, and discuss works by an international array of award-winning authors and directors of the past seventy years. Assignments include short papers, class presentations, an interpretive paper involving research, and a final exam.

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