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Session Submission Type: Roundtable
Session Sponsor: Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University
The Holocaust, a pivotal event in recent world history, captures the interests of many people, whose understanding of the Holocaust often comes from unreliable sources. Misinformation abounds from mistaken and malicious sources alike. Professors must address misconceptions as they engage with course material. This roundtable gathers Holocaust scholars to discuss approaches to and challenges of this complex event from various disciplinary, professional, and individual perspectives.
Three main questions will shape discussion: What are the greatest challenges of teaching about the Holocaust? Does your discipline prompt use of particular approaches? What are the most important considerations for someone new to teaching the Holocaust?
Sarah Cushman will moderate the panel. She brings a broad perspective of teaching about the Holocaust from leadership of HEF, whose mission is to advance Holocaust education at the university level. Cushman practices inclusive teaching and student-centered learning.
Sara Horowitz’s utilizes a literary perspective that looks critically at history and representation, particularly with regard to gender. Literature offers a way to complicate understanding and raise a range of questions about the historical event and its meaning.
Laura Jockusch explores victim responses, perpetrator motivations, and their interactions between. She locates the Holocaust within the long history of Jewish responses to persecution and in relation to other histories of violence, using of a variety of historical sources that help students understand choices and appreciate complexity.
Phyllis Lassner appreciates how the Holocaust challenges students to test assumptions of gender theories and imaginative fiction through the prism of historical evidence, including documentation, oral and written testimony, and analysis.
Barry Trachtenberg attends to how Holocaust Studies intersects with other histories of mass violence. He explores the Holocaust’s roots in European antisemitism AND European imperialist practices, as well as understanding the Holocaust in relation to total warfare and totalitarianism.
Amy Lynn Wlodarski translates the abstract languages of music. Her courses require students to engage with the Holocaust through assignments that place them in a similar subject-position to the testimonial artists they critique and to think about intersections between history and memory.