This program is virtual and will take place online for Summer 2021. The application deadline has been extended, you can can continue to submit applications online. Students will be selected on a rolling basis until courses are full.
About the course
This course is led by UBC faculty member Bozena Karwowska
This course will examine representations of the Nazi Holocaust and related aspects of Nazi Germany by focusing on Auschwitz. Auschwitz was a place in which several frequently conflicting agendas of the Third Reich intersected.An industrial compound, a concentration camp, a medical research site, and an extermination facility, Auschwitz served to imprison, terrorize, enslave, and kill. Its operation as well as the so-called “twisted road” that led to it provide a horrific and revealing example of the strange ways in which the Third Reich ruled by a mixture of chaos and consent. More importantly, Auschwitz is a site of conflicting memories that raise the question how, and if at all, it can be remembered and commemorated in ways that resist both sentimentalization and the recourse to conventional literary or cinematographic imagery.
After introducing you to the history of Jewish settlement in Poland (including development of Yiddish literature) and the so-called phase one of the extermination (Warsaw Ghetto), the course will explore issues related to Auschwitz by analyzing a set of diverse texts including research-based academic studies, first-hand accounts by both victims and perpetrators, interviews, documentaries, feature films, and literary fictionalization.
While the summer seminar follows the general schedule of CENS 303, the course is taught in cooperation with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial, and video material will be in a large part replaced by lectures, discussions, and virtual study tours. Because a close cooperation with the Museum Research Center creates unparalleled research opportunities, there will be a larger focus on research components of the course. Regular quizzes and midterm essays will be replaced by journals or by a research or educational project.
You will be introduced to the topic prior to the beginning of the seminar in a virtual class meeting and online lessons (at least 2 weeks before the course), so you can start reading memoirs and literary text in advance.
About the virtual experience
A typical day might include:
- Two 90 minute lectures, or a lecture and a study visit/individual meetings with researchers (9:00am – noon)
- A group seminar (60 - 90 minutes, 1:00pm – 2:30pm)
Sample of topics in a day
The Genocide of Sinti and Roma – lecture and avirtual tour of the exhibition in Blok 13
Medicine and medical experiments in KL Auschwitz –virtual on-site lecture (with a tour of Blok 10)
Group seminar or research discussion groups meetings and activities
The archives and their contents - workshop in block 24 (Museum Archives)
SS Garrison in Auschwitz - lecture and discussion
Group seminar or individual meetings with researchers, archivists, and librarians
Sensitive or potentially triggering content: Some students find that it is an emotional experience, especially if you have heritage/roots in the areas we are exploring.