What is a witness? What do the witnesses of the Shoah see, hear, experience? And how will they remember things, whether they are victims, perpetrators or bystanders? How are their memories translated into survivors' accounts: reports, fiction, art, and even music or architecture? And what does this teach us about human survival, and about the transmission of experiences to the next generation?
The course will ask these questions by studying literature on memory and trauma, as well as novels, poetry, and non-fiction accounts of the Holocaust. We will also look at art work created by survivors or their children, and listen to video testimonies. Among the authors and artists discussed will be work by Primo Levi, Paul Celan, Jean Améry, Eli Wiesel, Christian Boltanski, Daniel Libeskind, but also Philip Roth and Cynthia Ozick.
The course is supported by the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.