Gendered Memories of the Holocaust

Course Description: 

The course aims to interrogate the emerging field created by the intersection of Jewish Studies, Memory Studies and Gender Studies to study the literary and artistic representation of the Holocaust. The course covers the topics of how Memory of Holocaust is inscribed, framed, mediated and performed. It consists of two parts: an overview and theoretical introduction is followed by the analyses of the different forms, and sites of representation: literature, ego documents, films, internet, textbooks, statues, monuments, photos, oral histories, you-tube videos. The course also consists of field trips visiting sites, monuments and collections in Budapest related to the Holocaust.

The course will also consists of a video conferencing class with the University of Warsaw comparing the Holocaust Gallery in POLIN and HDKE from a gender perspective. The course also offers training how to use the Shoah Visual History Archive for research from a gender perspective.

The course will be held on Monday and Wednesday. Generally on the first day the required readings will be discussed on Wednesday film screenings and exercises will deepen the students’ critical engagement with the material. The classroom will be connected to the University of Warsaw to discuss the museum projects.

The CEU institutional e-learning site will host the course at All the readings are available in .pdf format in this course and you are expected to submit your course work to that website. For additional help for using the platform see

If you have any technical problems with the moodle, if, for example, the login does not work, or, you have uploaded the wrong file etc. contact Gabor Acs, directly.


Learning Outcomes: 
  • constructing coherent and independent historical arguments based on critical, comparative evaluation of the sources of different genre
  • understanding the power relations how memories were constructed, especially gendering the memories of war and political violence
  • understanding of Holocaust and other examples of genocide in a broad historical context and its impact on history writing
  • making critical and thoughtful use of a range of sources of information about political violence including ICT
  • selecting, organizing and using relevant information in structured explanations
  • understanding the importance of the mass media in confronting the historical experience of the Holocaust and other wars, and to place debates around representational conventions and proprieties in historical, cultural and theoretical context
  • evaluating validity of an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach to war and political violence
  • increasing awareness of local, regional and national heritage and its commemoralisation process; fostering personal responsibility as democratic citizens and promoting respect for human rights, especially for minority groups;
  • understanding of some of the major changes in the way Holocaust has been mediated, narrated and studies in the past decades
  • developing a critical understanding of how wars and genocides are gendered experiences
  • understanding feminist critiques of and contributions to memory studies and war/genocide studies
  • learning to work and contribute to an academic discussion in digital space

Preparation for the class includes critical reading assigned for that week and viewing the slides uploaded by other students before the class.

The required papers will be evaluated based on engagement with the literature, demonstrated ability to select, digest and organize material, to produce coherent and critically informed arguments.

You are expected to submit the following work listed here. All requirements need to be fulfilled for a passing grade.

PowerPoint reflection slides about key points/issues/challenges of the readings (5) (20%)

The slide (1) should make connections between the readings, discussing strengths and weaknesses, asking questions, raising criticisms, and making suggestions for further discussion. It is your choice which classes you will contribute with your five slides. Last chance for posting about readings is for the first class of week 10, no extension is given to improve your grade. It should be uploaded to the moodle by 12 CET on Saturday. The other students are also expected to look at the slides of the others before the class. During the class the slides will be projected and students are requested to comment and to respond to questions/comments from the others students as well as from the instructor. It is a pass/fail assignment. Feedback given during the class discussion.

Museum assignment (20%)

Visit the HDKE outside class time and prepare one slide about your experience connecting the exhibition to the readings. The slides should be uploaded to the moodle. Use only copyrighted material. Be ready for a discussion and also questions from your collagues and the instructors. You can also form a group of maximum 3 and do one presentation/slide. In this case the members of the group will be receiving the same grade.

Abstract (10%) By the end of week 5 students will have a broad overview of research done in the field. The abstract of the final paper is a 500 words description consisting of a research question, description of the empirical material and min. three references. Students will get an individual written feedback and encouraged to ask for an appointment to discuss their paper individually with the instructor.

Paper presentation: (10%) The presentation is a max. 20 minute long presentation (not reading) of your planned final paper. It should have a clear structure: introduction, research question, empirical material (if any), discussion and conclusions. Students will receive useful feedback during the class from other students and from the instructor they can use in the final version of their paper.

Final paper (30%) The finalized version of your presentation should be max. 3500-4000 words with proper references submitted to the moodle by 14 December noon CET.

Class participation (10%): class activity, active, meaningful, and well-informed participation in the class during discussing the reflection slides, museum slides and the presentation.