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C LIT 318 A: Literature and the Holocaust

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
DEN 112
Joint Sections: 
NEAR E 318 A
Sokoloff photo
Naomi Sokoloff

Syllabus Description:

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 (, 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



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: 40%
  • Test 1: 15%
  • Test 2: 15%
  • Homework, in-class writing, and quizzes: 30%


Grading Scale

 4.0  = 97-100

3.9   = 95-96

3.8  = 93-94

3.7 =  92

3.6 = 91

3.5 = 90

3.4 = 89




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. May not be taken for credit if credit earned in NEAR E 441. Offered: jointly with NEAR E 318.
Department Requirements Met: 
Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: 
Diversity (DIV)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 12, 2021 - 10:22pm