Synopsis of Class: January 30, 2001

Today, we discussed Maus I and II in detail, applying what we learned about postmodernism to this highly self-referential, self-conscious text. We thus continued to pursue two questions raised during our last class: In what ways can one say that Maus is postmodern? Also, in what ways does postmodernity (and the simulacrum) affect our ability to represent and remember the Holocaust?

Here are the characteristics of Maus that you pinpointed as particularly postmodern:

Jennifer Troutman finished class by suggesting some of the ways the Holocaust opens a rift in our consciousness that may then allow postmodernity to emerge. As she stated, the Holocaust may well be the foundational trauma of our age and thus opens up—through the unbelievability of what actually happened—the very question of whether anything in reality is ultimately true or believable. The Holocaust opens up the question of whether we can ever truly represent reality. Do we deceive ourselves when we believe we have represented the real? Are we really only ever being duped into belief by conventions, genres, conventions, stereotypes and ideologies? Are we constantly drawn to the Holocaust because, as Miriam Bratu Hansen suggests, it is a screen memory that hides something even more traumatic, what Baudrillard and Jameson diagnose as our lost of connection to the real?

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