Memory & Memoirs of 20th Century Europe

Subject 119-211 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: This subject is taught in English and is open to all second and third year students. European studies students wishing to enrol in this subject would normally have completed 25 points of European studies at first year level.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof A Freadman & Assoc Prof A Lewis
Subject Overview:

The eye-witness account and the personal memoir offer powerful ways of exploring the human legacy of overwhelming historical events on individual lives. But how do literary genres like the memoir and autobiography manage to speak about unspeakable topics, how do they represent the unrepresentable and write about trauma? What is the function, and what the effect, of writing memory for the victim, for the reader, and for the perpetrator? How do the offspring of the victims and perpetrators 'remember' their parents' traumas and shape memories of events they have only experienced second-hand? What is the relationship between fiction and memory in memoir writing and how do we read a testimonial of a Holocaust survivor that has been faked? This subject will introduce students to a selection of testimonial writing and films that tell individual stories of a shameful national past. It explores the effect of generic convention on the relation of history and memory, and the need for generic invention to speak trauma and tell the un-tellable. Its focus will be on the Holocaust, the Algerian War, and life under Eastern bloc communist regimes. This subject will focus on writing from France, Germany, and Italy in the first instance, but may from time to time include writing from other parts of Europe.

Assessment: An essay of 3000 words 70% (due at the end of semester) and a 1000 word class paper of 10 minutes duration 30% (due during semester).
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:If this is a Man (P Levil), Abacus by Sphere Books 1987 Fragments (B Wilkomirski), New York 1996 or a Memory of Childhood (P W Georges), Collins Harvill 1988 Night (E Wiesel), Penguin 1981 An Algerian Childhood (L Sebbar (ed)) Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade (A Djebar) Land of Green Plums (H Mller) Pawel's Letters (M Maron), Harvill Press 2002
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • enhance their understanding of texts through reference to existing scholarship;

  • appreciate the cultural complexity of issues that circulate in the popular media;

  • identify and explore issues across texts from different contexts;

  • be able to engage critically with texts in oral presentation;

  • interpret in writing the meaning of literature with attention to social context and language.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Modern Languages (French)
Diploma in Modern Languages (German)
Diploma in Modern Languages (Italian)
Diploma in Modern Languages (Spanish)
Diploma in Modern Languages - Swedish
Graduate Diploma in Arts (French)

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