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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF5031M Unfinished Business: Trauma, Cultural Memory and the Holocaust

30 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Dr Roseanna Ramsden

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as an Elective


The objectives of this module are to consider the continuing significance of the events known as the Holocaust or Shoah as they enter representation.
The module will consider testimony and oral archives of survivors' witness, current moves to create Holocaust museums, artistic projects of memorialisation and counter-memory, autobiographical narratives and films, psychotherapeutic work with the generations of survivors' children.
Cinematic attempts to respond to the Holocaust will also be studied. These voices, words and images pose the question of what it is that is struggling into or out of representation and what is means for everyone living in the shadow of this major event in western modernity.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students should be able to demonstrate
- Understanding of the historical and cultural significance of the Holocaust
- Critical understanding of key concepts used to analyse the Holocaust and its representation and memorialisation
- Ability to apply these concepts to analyse a range of cultural and historical artefacts, and to reflect on their usage
- Ability to co-ordinate and disseminate of a range of historical, contextual visual information
- Ability to conduct self-directed research


Studying films, autobiographies, visual art and archives of oral testimony, the course will address a range of debates in literary, historiographical and psychological theory about the ways in which survivors live after and with trauma of the Holocaust, the ways in which witnesses provide testimony, and the ways in which the legacy of a historical trauma of the magnitude of the Holocaust is currently being represented by historians, sociologists, writers, artists and museums.
Thus the students will be introduced to the debates about Holocaust and 'the limits of representation' (Saul Friedlander), for instance, by comparing Schindler's List with Claude Lanzmann's Shoah. Autobiographies of survivors from many different countries and situations will be studied (Bauman, Kofman, Perec, Levi). The issues of witness and the process of testimony will be addressed through the work of the Yale Archive (Laub, Primo Levi).
Aspects of contemporary moves to memorialisation in art and through museums devoted to Holocaust commemoration and education will be analysed (Young and Rogoff). There will be a section on psychoanalytic perspectives on the transmission of trauma to the children of survivors (Wardi).
Rather than an historical study of the events 1933-45, this module will enable students to consider the continuing significance of these events in the larger context of European history through close attention to the voices and images of those who continue to live with a trauma that only work - psychological, analytical, creative - can turn into memory which then the cultures of Europe as a whole must themselves take on as the history that continues to shape our present responses to all forms of racism, genocide and violence against the stranger.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings103.0030.00
Private study hours240.00
Total Contact hours60.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay7,000 word essay (inc footnotes and bibliography)100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:22:38


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