C LIT 318 A: Literature and the Holocaust

Winter 2022
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm / DEN 112
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
NEAR E 318 A
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

NEAR E 318 – C LIT 318

Please note: students may sign up for this course under either prefix - NEAR E or C LIT.  It is the same course! If you have any questions about how the credits may count toward a major or minor in NELC, or a major in C LIT or CMS, please speak with the advisor, Nancy Sisko (nsisko@uw.edu), in Humanities Academic Services.




Winter 2022

5 credits 


T/Th 11:30-1:20


Professor Naomi Sokoloff

Office Hours: Wednesday 10:30-12:00 or by appointment


Office: Denny 220

Phone: 206-543-4959

e-mail: naosok@uw.edu


By examining fiction, poetry, memoirs, diaries, monuments, commix, and other aspects of popular culture, this course will explore literary responses to the Nazi Holocaust. How has literature imagined and reacted to the persecution of Jews and other marginalized groups – including Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, and people with disabilities? Among the topics to be covered: bearing witness and survivor testimony; the shaping of collective memory; the second generation; Holocaust education and children's literature; gender and the Holocaust; fantasy and humor in representations of catastrophe.

Students may opt to take this as a W course by completing additional writing assignments. Revision, editing, and reworking of essay assignments is an integral part of a W course.

Any student in this course who wishes to read some texts in Hebrew may contact the instructor and make arrangements to register for an additional 2-3 credits of  independent study (MODHEB 490 or MODHEB 600).


Required Texts


Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

Art Spiegelman, Maus I and Maus II

Doris Bergen, War and Genocide  (available as e-book through UW Libraries)


Most materials, including poems and lecture notes, will be available at the course website.

Course Requirements

Students are expected to complete the reading assignments on time, to participate in class discussion, and to hand in brief writing assignments (homework or in-class exercises) on a regular basis. There will be two in-class tests (no final exam) and one paper (1250-1500 words; 5-7 pages), and there will be opportunities for earning extra credit (adding a maximum of .1 to the final grade).

Final grades will be determined as follows:

  • Essay: 30%
  • Test 1: 15%
  • Test 2: 15%
  • Homework, in-class writing, and quizzes: 30%
  • Class Presentation: 10%


Grading Scale

 4.0  = 98-100

3.9   = 96-97

3.8  = 94-95

3.7 =  92-93

3.6 = 91

3.5 = 90

3.4 = 89


Incompletes will be assigned only in accordance with UW policy.




*This course is open to all UW undergraduate students. The NELC Department welcomes you and your pronouns!

*If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability please contact Disability Resources for Students (uwdrs@uw.edu or 206-543-8924 (voice and relay). More information is available at  https://depts.washington.edu/uwdrs/

*In cases of academic misconduct, such as plagiarism or receiving inappropriate assistance on an assignment, offending students will be penalized in accordance with the policy of the College of Arts and Sciences. If you are unsure what constitutes plagiarism or how to properly attribute credit to source materials, consult with the instructor.

 *Please keep a copy of all graded work. This is very useful in case the instructor’s record of grades is lost or damaged, or in case the student wishes to discuss a grade.  Protect yourself by keeping a copy.

* Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/).

*For additional guidelines on academic integrity, Incompletes, grade appeal, concerns about an instructor, equal opportunity, disability accommodations, absences due to religious observances, sexual harassment, and safety, see the information available at https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/syllabi-guidelines/ (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

*If you have any concerns about the class, try to resolve them first with your classroom instructor. If the matter is not resolved that way, you can turn to the Divisional Dean for the Humanities, Brian Reed (bmreed@uw.edu). If the matter is not resolved that way, there are other resources available to students to resolve complaints or grievances, including Humanities Academic Services https://hasc.washington.edu/, the Bias Reporting Tool, https://www.washington.edu/bias/, the Office of the Ombud, https://www.washington.edu/ombud/, the University Complaint and Resolution Office, https://www.washington.edu/compliance/uciro/, and Disability Resources, https://depts.washington.edu/uwdrs/complaint-mediation/

Email:  I try to respond promptly to email from students, but I may not reply immediately. You may expect a response to take up to four or five days.


It is important that we take care of ourselves inside and outside of class by learning how to care for our body, mind and spirit. Toward that end, there are many different kinds of support services on campus, including the Counseling Center, Hall Health, and the IMA. If you are concerned about yourself or a friend who is struggling, Safecampus, at 1-800-685-7233, is a very helpful resources to learn more about how to access campus-based support services. Please save the number for Safecampus, 1-800-685-7233, into your cell phones.

Attendance and class participation are important to the learning process. However, if you have symptoms of contagious illness – such as sniffles, sneezes, a cough, a sore throat, or a fever – please do not come to class. We will figure out a way to cover the material so that your learning and your grades will not suffer. 

The provost has asked faculty to share these links with all students. You can find information here about medical services and mental health support at UW.

http://wellbeing.uw.edu/?mkt_tok=NTI3LUFIUi0yNjUAAAGBFztecQRfQ9gDKdZnZ5Xp0CPJWdwcxDdwhpihOLx4sfELukredzsp9Vd3snzc0vHrxlELL1HKDB_086G2Gj3bKK8n5hiBa8pH1tf7D8kLinks to an external site.


http://wellbeing.uw.edu/topic/mental-health/?mkt_tok=NTI3LUFIUi0yNjUAAAGBFzteccXcH7a4WLO8DhTlKNkemS8R3YjWjV6sJTZ4x0x_iYfRHMnuZryh6IY74GZjM_YpRbbU8fm_e9uST4rCI2VC7dgf_q1Ts28tI2cLinks to an external site.


Course Information & Online Resources

Instruction for this course will continue online, at least till end of January. Our plan is to meet via Zoom Video Conferencing at this link:



These will be synchronous class sessions, at the same hours as have appeared in the Time Schedule.   Access to both Canvas and Zoom is necessary for completing readings and homework assignments and for earning participation points. Students who cannot attend class will have the option to complete alternative written assignments. Please keep in mind that the alternative assignments will be both more demanding and less interactive than the in-class work. If at all possible, plan to attend the class at the regular hour.

I would rather teach this course in person, but we will find a way to make learning a positive experience under the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 era. Let's be patient with each other and keep a sense of humor!!

Types of Communication

 In an online course, our communication will visible to all. For private communication, we will use individual email and Zoom office hours.

Online Course Policies

  Expectations of students:

  • Come to class fully prepared.
  • Attend all online sessions and actively participate in the forum.
  • Complete assignments on time. If difficulties turn up (such as illness, caring for others who are ill, technological problems, working from home where children need attention, etc.), let me know. We will figure out what to do to keep your learning on track.
  • Abide by the standards of academic honesty and student code of conduct.
  • Seek help. I’ll do my best to help you succeed in this class.
  • Have access to a camera and audio. The expectation is that you will be  visible/audible to me and to your classmates, but you can control those options. If you are not feeling well and want to listen in but not speak up or be seen, we will accommodate those circumstances. And, if the servers/processors/whatevers are overburdened and the video is slowing down or disrupting our communication, we'll adapt as necessary to those circumstances.
  • I plan to record Zoom sessions that include lecture/Power Point presentations. If you must miss class and want to catch up later, you should be able to access the recorded material. (I usually don't lecture for more than 20 minutes on any given day; I prefer to devote class time to discussion and other kinds of more interactive activities. )

 For Zoom recordings:  the recording will capture the presenter’s audio, video and computer screen. Student audio and video will be recorded if they share their computer audio and video during the recorded session. The recordings will only be accessible to students enrolled in the course to review materials. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public.

The University and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts. Students who do not wish to be recorded should:

  • Change their Zoom screen name to hide any personal identifying information such as their name or UW Net ID, and
  • Not share their computer audio or video during their Zoom sessions.


Course Etiquette:

  • Get to class on time. Test your camera and audio prior to class time.
  •  In general, it is good policy to "mute" yourself during a Zoom meeting, until you are ready to speak to the entire group. Keep phones and other devices from making background noise or disruption.
  • Respect each other.








Catalog Description:
Examines fiction, poetry, memoir, diaries, monuments, film, and pop culture from several languages and cultural milieus, with emphases on English and Hebrew. Topics include survivor testimony, shaping of collective memory, the second generation, Holocaust education and children's literature, gender and the Holocaust, and fantasy and humor as responses to catastrophe. Offered: jointly with MELC 318.
GE Requirements Met:
Diversity (DIV)
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated:
June 7, 2024 - 11:33 pm