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Study information

Religion and Holocaust Memory in Public Life

Module titleReligion and Holocaust Memory in Public Life
Module codeTHE2219
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr David Tollerton (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module explores the ways in which the growing prominence of Holocaust remembrance in public life has intersected with religion. There are three key dimensions to this:

  • the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities have interacted with public Holocaust memory
  • the intersections of religion and Holocaust memory in film, television, literature, and visual art,
  • the use of religious tradition and evocation of religious experience amidst museums, memorials, sites of persecution, and remembrance ceremonies.

The module has no pre- or co-requisites and though housed in the Department of Theology and Religion it is suitable for students across the College of Humanities and College of Social Science and International Studies.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Since the 1990s, Holocaust remembrance has gained an increasingly prominent place in public life of many Western societies, and this module’s unique aim is to consider this phenomenon through the lenses of religious studies. You will consider this from three mutually reinforcing angles:

  • public debates emanating from different Abrahamic communities
  • varied public media (literature, film, television, and visual art) through which religion and Holocaust memory have intersected,
  • sites and ceremonies associated with Holocaust memory (museums, memorials, sites of persecution, and remembrance day ceremonies).

The module aims to draw on the growing scholarly appreciation of the religious dimensions of public remembrance cultures. With regard to employability: as well as direct relevance for school/college teaching (where curricular focus on Holocaust studies has grown considerably in recent years) and heritage sectors, the module aims to develop your confidence in engaging with varied media and addressing controversial and sensitive topics in the public sphere.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe in writing some of the key variations of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim community debates on public Holocaust memory
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of how intersections between public Holocaust memory and religious issues are manifested in at least one of the following media forms: literature, film, television, visual art
  • 3. Research religious issues concerning sites and ceremonies of Holocaust remembrance

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Research the role history, religious tradition, and community identities play in shaping how past events are publically remembered
  • 5. Demonstrate an awareness in writing of the potentials and difficulties of varied media forms for conveying religious responses to the past

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Shape detailed information into a clear written account, with some guidance
  • 7. Show coherence and rigour in argument
  • 8. Analyse written sources, with some guidance
  • 9. With guidance, address controversial topics with sensitivity and nuance
  • 10. Demonstrate an awareness of the module as a learning community by listening to the viewpoints of others, contributing sensitively to discussion, and critically reflecting on the learning process

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

The module will consider intersections of religion and Holocaust memory in public life with regard to:

  • Public debates related to Jewish communities
  • Public debates related to Christian communities
  • Public debates related to Muslim communities
  • Religious themes in post-Holocaust literature
  • Religious themes and debates in film and television
  • Religious imagery in post-Holocaust visual art
  • Religious tradition and experience at museums and memorial sites
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau and debates over Christian involvement at the site
  • Religious tradition and experience in Holocaust memorial days

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 11Seminars
Guided Independent Study267Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short case study report1000 words1, 4, 6-9Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 1402500 words1-2, 4-9Written and oral
Essay 2503000 words1, 3-9Written and oral
Participation10In-class participation 10Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 1Essay 11-2,4-9Referral/Deferral period
Essay 2Essay 21, 3-9Referral/Deferral period
Participation1-to-1 tutorial10Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Afridi, Mehnaz M., Shoah Through Muslim Eyes (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2017).
  • Alba, Avril, The Holocaust Memorial Museum: Sacred Secular Space (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
  • Pearce, Andy, Holocaust Consciousness in Contemporary Britain (London: Routledge, 2014).
  • Rothberg, Michael, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).
  • Stier, Oren Baruch, Holocaust Icons: Symbolizing the Holocaust in History and Memory (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2015).
  • Tollerton, David, Holocaust Memory and Britain’s Religious-Secular Landscape: Politics, Sacrality, and Diversity (London and New York: Routledge, 2020).
  • Weissman, Gary, Fantasies of Witnessing: Postwar Efforts to Experience the Holocaust (New York: Cornell University Press, 2004).

Key words search

Holocaust, religion, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, memorial, museum, sacred, ritual, ceremony, pilgrimage, art, film, literature, secular

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


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Last revision date