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The University of Southampton

HIST6084 The Holocaust, Englishness and Americanness

Module Overview

This course provides a comparative treatment of British and American responses to the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Europe. It covers both contemporary responses from state, public, society and culture from 1933 to 1945 and then explores various postwar responses including film, literature, museums and the experiences of the refugees from Nazism and survivors of the Holocaust. It is thus a course that includes political and social history as well as perspectives from literary and cultural studies and more specifically film and museum studies.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the responses of British and American society, culture and politics to the Jewish plight in Nazi Europe, 1933-45
  • the impact of the persecution of the Jews during the Nazi era on liberal democratic culture as represented by Britain and the USA
  • the responses in culture and politics to the Holocaust in post-war British and American society
  • the differences and similarities between British and American responses to the Holocaust
  • change and continuity in Anglo-American responses to the Holocaust
  • the impact of pluralism in the responses to and representation of the Holocaust
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate particular elements of Anglo-American responses to the Holocaust, making connections across different historical, cultural and national contexts
  • use different media to analyse Anglo-American responses to the Holocaust including film, literature, newspapers, autobiography, and government papers
  • integrate close textual analysis and contextual research
  • demonstrate confidence and independence of thought
  • synthesise and evaluate complex ideas
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate originality and confidence in the scholarly application of knowledge, and the ability to advance that knowledge through research informed by the work of others
  • work independently and effectively using library, archival and internet resources and demonstrate efficient time management
  • give an effective oral presentation that engages and informs its audience
  • contribute to original and intellectually challenging discussion in a group environment and listening and responding to the views of others


The module will examine the record of two liberal democracies faced by the Nazi seizure of power and the persecution of German Jews in the 1930s, and the reaction to news of the Final Solution in the 1940s. It will look at the place of the Holocaust in post-1945 culture, patterns of memorialisation, historical debates and controversies about the meaning and significance of the Holocaust.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • seminars • independent study and research • field trip to museum This MA module primarily will be taught through seminars but also utilising film showings and a museum visit. The module is divided into two halves. The first explores Anglo-American responses to the Holocaust during the Nazi era, and the second covers the period from 1945 to the present. Each seminar explores a specific response to the persecution of the Jews in relation to chronology and media. Students will all read key documentation for each seminar. Primary and secondary sources have been chosen so as to be available in the Parkes library for close individual study, which will be actively encouraged. Additionally, you will be required to give at least one class presentation. Feedback on these presentations will be provided, giving you constructive criticism on content and communication skills. Primary resources will be a prominent part of the seminars, with the aim of producing familiarity in handling and engaging with archive material and fostering the ability, through example and experience, of incorporating these texts into critical frameworks with original insight. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to pursue your own particular research interests and case studies and space will be allocated during the unit to enable you to present your essay work in progress in a supportive and reciprocally challenging environment. Learning activities include • Students will be asked to prepare for each seminar by following the recommended reading and for individual presentations on the examination of specific sources. Innovative or special features of this module (e.g. study visits, online support) • visits to museum • use of wide range of source material • multi- and interdisciplinary approach • cross national comparisons

Completion of assessment task55
Follow-up work70
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Peter Novick (1999). The Holocaust In American Life. 

Tony Kushner (1994). The Holocaust and the Liberal Imagination. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (5000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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