Memory & Memoirs of 20th Century Europe

Subject EURO30002 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 2 hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

EURO20003 Memory & Memoirs of 20th Centure Europe

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 Alison 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.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this subject, students will:

  • engage critically with personal and theoretical perspectives on European histories of violence and their genres and forms;
  • communicate knowledge effectively about Europe’s present and past, and its traditions in polished oral and sophisticated written assignments;
  • demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of memoir and memory writing about traumatic pasts in 20th century Europe;
  • develop advanced research skills in the constituent disciplines of European memory studies, trauma studies and Holocaust studies and learn to contextualise fictional and factual writing about trauma;
  • demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the impact of Europe’s histories of violence in relation to second and third generation writing about the past and from the Americas and Australasia;
  • acquire comprehensive critical insights through their engagement with Europe that prepare them for becoming good global citizens;
  • work with independence, self- reflection and creativity to meet goals and challenges in the workplace and personal life.
  • Mid-semester written assignment of 1,000 words [20%]
  • 1000 word individual class paper of 10 minutes duration during semester [30%]
  • Final essay of 2000 words [50%]

This subject has the following hurdle requirements:

  • Regular participation in tutorials is required with a minimum of 75% attendance.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day and in-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:
  • If there is a Man (P Levi) Abacus by Sphere Books 1987
  • Everything is Illuminated (J S Foer) Penguin 2002
  • A Women in Berlin (Anonymous) Metropolitan Books 2005
  • Auschwitz and After (C Delbo) Yale University Press 1997
  • Additional material to be supplied by the department
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

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 Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Classics
European Studies
Spanish Major
Spanish and Latin American Studies
Spanish and Latin American Studies
Spanish and Latin American Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): European Studies

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