Holocaust Narratives and the Ethics of Representation TRS4087

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This interdisciplinary course examines responses to the Holocaust in imaginative works and the impact of this catastrophic event in contemporary culture, exploring the tensions between efforts to make sense of the Holocaust and to narrate it, and broader cultural discourses about genocide and its meanings. It will address historical facts, as well as the theological, moral, philosophical, and cultural legacy of the Holocaust as represented through memoirs, novels, poetry, drama, and film.


1x2hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in TRS and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Theology and Religious Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

TRS3023 The Holocaust and Ethics of Representation

TRS4053 The Holocaust and Ethics of Representation

TRS3034 Holocaust Narratives and the Ethics of Representation Non Honours




Essay (2,500 words) - 40%

Presentation of 10 minutes - 10%

Book Review (750 words) - 10%

Examination (90 minutes duration) - 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ explore the history and events of the Holocaust through a wide range of texts and cultural material, including: anti-Jewish propaganda, historical accounts, journals and diaries from the 1940s, memoirs written by survivors after the events, documentary footage, and fiction and narrative films that re-imagine the Holocaust;

■ focus on the parallel processes of narration and commemoration of events that seem to defy comprehension and explore ethical dilemmas that arise from these narratives;

■ analyse and investigate the production of history and historical memory (and the differences between those), and the set of cultural meanings that an event such as the Holocaust acquires;

■ examine ethical questions raised by historians, theologians, philosophers, psychologists, writers and film directors.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ offer an account of the history of the Holocaust, how it came about, and what kinds of moral and ethical questions this event raises;

■ address key dilemmas of Holocaust representation;

■ evaluate critically what kinds of ideas motivated those most responsible for the Holocaust;

■ carry out close readings and analysis of course texts and film to identify the various ways that people have coped with personal and cultural trauma through aesthetic means;

■ present findings orally through presentations

■ use IT resources to facilitate learning.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.