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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Spring 2006

R S 357 • Wom Narrtv of Holocaust/WWII-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43530 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 304

Course Description

This course is meant to serve as an introduction to both the history of Jewish and German women during WW II and the Holocaust, and to women's narratives and self-representations of this period. The focus in this class is twofold: 1. We will examine the historical role of non-Jewish German and Jewish women during WW II and the Holocaust from different positions, (bystander, perpetrator, victim, resister, rescuer) through autobiographical texts, film, and historical analyses. In doing so, we explore what a feminist, or gender history may look like. We explore how Fascism defined the gender roles of non-Jewish women in Germany, and how the Nazis conceived of and treated Jewish women and other female "enemies of the state." We will examine if and how the experience of Jewish women may have differed from that of (Jewish) men, and investigate whether this difference is due to sexism on the part of the Nazis and/or the Jewish community, or to other factors. We will ask: what, overall were the effects of the war on the lives of these different women? Did their roles change as they needed to shelter themselves and/or their families from violence, flee the country, became employed in the war industry, were expected to privately support the war effort, fight actively in the war, or resist the enemy in underground movements? 2. We will examine autobiographical texts of these different women as self-representations that attempt to negotiate the different (and shifting) discourses on femininity and masculinity, and the role of women in the public and private sphere available during the war years. Although the texts (both autobiographical writing and interviews) sketch a picture of the experiences, roles and gender constructions of women during 1933-1945 that we seek to examine, we will not just use these texts as eyewitness documents of women's different (gendered) experience. Instead, we critically investigate how to interpret these texts. We will ask: how are these texts produced? What is the role of the interviewer or editor, what is the role of the passing of time between the events and their production? Are the texts gendered? If so, how? Is memory gendered, or are narratives? How do the texts relate to lived experience? What are we to make of their subjectivity? What is at stake in producing these texts?

Grading Policy

Your grade will be determined by class attendance and participation, response papers, class presentation and short presentation paper, and the final research paper. (Proposal, bibliography, outline and opening paragraph are considered part of the paper and its grade). Attendance/participation 20% Response papers (4) 20% Class presentation 10% Presentation paper 10% Final research paper 40% 4 response papers, presentation paper (4-5 pages), final (8-10 pages) + proposal, outline, biblio = total of 20-22 written pages.


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