EN3HT-Holocaust Testimony: Memory, Trauma and Representation

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Bryan Cheyette

Email: b.h.cheyette@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The module introduces students to the most important works of Holocaust Testimony and, by reading these books critically, will develop an awareness of theoretical issues concerning the relationship between trauma, memory and narrative, and the connection, more generally, between literary and historical forms of narrative. The module will examine both the diversity of Holocaust Testimony and the emergence of common preoccupations among these writers, alongside the different narrative forms and socio-historical contexts in which they work.

The module has three broad aims: to provide students with knowledge and understanding of a range of Holocaust testimonies; to introduce students to the key critical debates in relation to Holocaust Testimony concerning the representation of gender, modernism and documentary realism, prose and poetry, constructions of the reader; to develop an informed awareness of some of the major developments in narrative and memory studies with regard to Holocaust Testimony.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be expected to:
•Show skills of close textual analysis in relation to the testimonies and poetry on the module
•Show an awareness of theoretical and historical issues concerning the critical works, poetry and testimonies on the module
•Engage critically with ideas discussed in seminars, such as the construction of a mass readership in the texts, the use of modernist or documentary realist narrative forms, the question of gender, the use of figurative language in relation to the camps
•Construct and express coherent arguments, both orally and in writing, with regard to the primary material and critical literature discussed on the module
•Conceptualise some of the ways in which Holocaust Testimony articulates or responds to tensions concerning memory, narrative and trauma

Additional outcomes:
Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. Students will be encouraged to develop skills of oral communication and effective participation in group work. They will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources and databases and the word-processing of assessed work. Students will also be encouraged to develop a critical sense of the role Holocaust Testimony plays in relation to the construction of the reader, memory and identity in relation to the Holocaust survivor and will also develop a historical sense of the context for these testimonies.

Outline content:
The module is concerned with the narrative construction of Holocaust Testimonies and requires an examination of both the diversity of Holocaust Testimony and a comparative sense of the emergence of common preoccupations and differences. Set texts may include Elie Wiesel, Night (1960); Primo Levi, If This is a Man (1947/1960) and The Truce (1965); Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen (1951); Jorge Semprun, The Cattle Truck (1964); Sara Nomberg-Przytyk, Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land (1985); Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and After (1946/1985); Paul Celan, Selected Poems (1996).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Three seminar hours weekly, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative written work. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 20
Tutorials 0.5
Guided independent study 129.5 40
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark:

Formative assessment methods:

Formative Assessment Methods - work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark:

Students write one formative journal, of between 1000 and 1500 words. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed journal (worth 30%), or the equivalent placement report, and on the assessed essay of 3300-3500 words (70%).

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 25 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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