A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

The Expert as Novice: Holocaust Studies and the First-Year Writer

Sandie Friedman, George Washington University

Enculturation 7 (2010): http://enculturation.net/the-expert-as-novice


The Holocaust is a dangerous subject for students beginning the experience of college writing; even mature scholars risk a breakdown in thought and language when they try to write about historical trauma. As Holocaust scholar Lawrence Langer has observed, the event tests the limits of our capacity to understand; we lack the language to narrate such events without reducing their horror. Faced with a survivor’s excruciating testimony, Langer asks: “Where shall we record it in the scroll of human discourse?” (105). Langer uses the metaphor of the scroll for its association with the Torah and to suggest that the writing of history shapes events into a narrative with coherence and aesthetic power. However, the Holocaust cannot be inscribed as a chapter in this magisterial scroll. Despite the difficulties of recording the Holocaust in the “scroll of human discourse,” scholars and students, including freshmen, feel bound to try, if not to inscribe, it in the grand unfolding document of human history, then at least to come to terms with it in a personal way—in our private scrolls of moral or historical reflection.

Students’ anxieties become manifest on all levels when confronting this subject—not just in the conception and structure of an essay but also on the sentence level, where students may retreat into cliché: “We must study the past in order to prevent similar atrocities in the future,” or produce a garbled claim: “A lot of what happened during the Holocaust was not based on facts that can be recorded, as well as what happened were issues of basic morality and ethics.” Just as Langer responds to a survivor testimony with “frozen disbelief” (105), students can feel overwhelmed when they attempt to confront the reality of the event. They may experience this kind of intellectual paralysis in reading or listening to the testimonies of individual survivors or, on the other hand, by learning about the vast numbers subjected to deportation and death.

The effort to inscribe the Holocaust is compounded for freshmen, who not only are attempting to come to terms with traumatic history but are also struggling with the problem of “inventing the university,” as David Bartholomae terms it. Bartholomae argues that college writers must “imagine for themselves the privilege of being ‘insiders’” (143): of writing from within the specialized discourse of scholars. But because they haven’t yet been fully immersed in this language, their efforts are often awkward and uneven. When freshmen take up the Holocaust, then, they are faced with a doubly challenging task: not only inventing the university, but also imagining—and trying to do justice to—an overwhelming reality.

This is one form of the problem Nancy Sommers and Laura Saltz have described as the “novice-as-expert paradox” (131). In an article that emerged from their longitudinal study of undergraduate writing at Harvard, Sommers and Saltz present the dilemma that young writers face when they enter college: writing assignments ask them to synthesize bodies of material; to render judgments about texts and issues; to make original and compelling arguments—in short, to write as if they had mastered a field of study. One of the students in the study remarked that this was like being asked to “build a house without any tools.” How can students “fashion themselves into authorities” when they lack knowledge, not only of the subject matter, but also of the qualities of strong academic writing (133)? Sommers and Saltz argue that if students are to make progress, they must accept their initial status as novices, with all the openness and humility that term implies.

The Holocaust is a topic that enables students to embrace their position as novices because they are taking on subject matter that paralyzes even the experts. Langer, one of the most respected scholars in the field, openly doubts his capacity to inscribe the Holocaust without distorting it; the struggle to come to terms with the event is an accepted part of the academic discourse. In popular terms, the Holocaust is said to be “unspeakable.” In a field where experts claim their humility, students may feel more willing to be novices—to begin with questions, rather than answers. In my course, Culture and Memory, we begin the process of writing an essay on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with questions—not only as a strategy for the writing process, but also because it determines the attitude towards the subject, a stance of not-knowing.

At the same time, the subject of the Holocaust demands the kind of investment that Sommers and Saltz argue is vital for students if they are to make progress as writers. To sustain an interest in writing over the course of college, students must undergo a “paradigm shift” in their attitudes towards academic writing: from seeing their papers as exercises that enable teachers to evaluate them to regarding the process as a means of developing their own ideas and interests, “what matters to them” (Sommers and Saltz 140). It’s not just a new degree of investment, but a new kind of investment—caring about the writing as meaningful in itself. It’s hard to dismiss a piece of writing about the Holocaust as a mere exercise, the purpose of which is to receive a grade. The subject requires a level of seriousness.

Staging a Critical Encounter

My colleague Cayo Gamber and I both teach a freshman writing seminar that asks students to engage with the memory of the Holocaust. We are fortunate that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) is located on the Mall, near the George Washington University campus in Washington D.C. My colleague’s class is a research seminar on the Holocaust in which students make use of the museum’s archives, interpreting primary texts such as photographs and survivor testimony. My class begins instead with what I regard as a secondary text, the museum’s display, and situates the museum within the context of American collective memory.

Our choices of how to approach Holocaust commemoration reflect different concerns: my colleague challenges students to consider their responsibilities as “secondary witnesses” to the Holocaust, and therefore she brings them as close to the event as possible (Hartman 23). I am interested in the distancing effects of the museum-as-framework, and I want students to interpret the Holocaust museum as a text—to attend to the ways in which American cultural politics shape this text. We share the hope, I believe, that the difficulties of writing the Holocaust can bring students to a higher stage in their intellectual development.

Holocaust memorials, even the work of commemoration itself, may have the unintended effect of reducing people to tragic symbols. My colleague wants students to get beyond the staggering numbers of the dead, to try to know the victims as individuals. By researching primary documents like photographs, students learn the skills of archival research, but more importantly, they may be able to restore a sense of individuality to the figure in the photographs—to rediscover a name and a history for a person who, in many cases, has been deprived of a grave or a family to remember him or her. Through the attempt to restore individual identities to victims, students learn the process of research in a way that is deeply motivated. Students’ essays become, in a phrase from Deborah Staines, “paper tombstones” marking the absent graves.

Influenced by writers like Philip Lopate, Peter Novick, and Lawrence Langer, and also by my own observations about how the collective memory of the Holocaust is deployed, I have come to emphasize the uses of the Holocaust in American culture. This critical approach brings students closer to understanding, from the inside, how scholars in cultural studies do their work: reading cultural artifacts for ideological subtexts, trying to understand the uses of cultural memory. In some ways, this is a more difficult approach because it pushes against the reverent attitude towards the event that most students bring with them.

Philip Lopate, the widely-read personal essayist, opens “Resistance to the Holocaust” with an account of how his mother “would drag [him] around Brooklyn to visit some of the newly arrived refugees; they were a novelty” (88). There was an element of emotional coercion in these visits; he “froze at the demand for … compassionate awe” (89). As an adult, Lopate’s skepticism has only deepened. In Americans’ preoccupation with the Holocaust, Lopate sees the reflection of a passive and largely unconscious kind of racism—a tendency to feel more sympathy for people who resemble them:

The now-familiar newsreel shot of Asian populations fleeing a slaughter with their meager possessions in handcarts still reads to us as a catastrophe involving “masses,” while the images of Jews lined up in their fedoras and overcoats tug at our hearts precisely because we see the line composed of individuals …. Jews have often stood for individuality in modern culture, by virtue of their outsider status and commitment to mind and artistic cultivation. (98)

Although he uses “we” in this passage, it’s clear from the context of the essay that Lopate distances himself from this racist tendency to reduce Asian populations to “masses.” He refuses to privilege Jewish suffering above that of others, even though he is a Jew.

This might strike some as odd. Lopate writes that he hears the voices of certain Jewish readers asking: “What’s wrong with you? …. Are you not closer to your own dead than to those others?” And he responds rather disingenuously: “I don’t know; I must be lacking in tribal feeling. When it comes to mass murder, I can see no difference between their casualties and ours” (89). But it’s not simply that he is “lacking in tribal feeling;" in fact, he is actively rejecting “tribal feeling” and trying to adopt a perspective that transcends his identity as an American Jew. I do not want or expect students to develop a resistance to the Holocaust; however, I am interested in fostering their capacity not only to read cultural narratives critically but also to become conscious of the limitations of their perspectives—to be aware of “tribal feeling” (an innocuous term for a pernicious tendency), and how it might shape their view of historical events.

The historian Peter Novick argues for “resistance” to the Holocaust because commemoration of the event has been both a cause and a symptom of an “inward and rightward turn of American Jewry in recent decades” (10)—a shift away from the ethos that motivated the Jewish community to participate in the Civil Rights movement. In encouraging resistance to the Holocaust, Novick works to counteract the effects of identity politics, which impelled this rightward turn. Novick argues, for example, that the Holocaust “has mandated an intransigent and self-righteous posture in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (10). Things have perhaps changed since Novick was writing in the late 1990s; some Israeli leaders have become more willing to compromise. However, the Israeli people remain divided, with many still adopting this inflexible posture, and as a result, the region remains blocked in its efforts to achieve peace.

Even when the rhetoric about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not intransigent, it can be self-righteous and sentimental. As part of her visit to Israel in March 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid a memorial wreath at Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust memorial and museum. Her speech there made use of some of the most familiar sentimental tropes, suggesting that the memory of the Holocaust must enforce our determination to protect the future of Israel: “Yad Vashem is a testament to the power of truth in the face of denial, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of despair, the triumph of the Jewish people over murder and destruction and a reminder to all people that the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten. God bless Israel and its future” (“Visit of U.S. Secretary”). Novick and Langer would both be deeply troubled by this passage. In the compelling introduction to his book, Novick deconstructs the popular phrase “lessons of the Holocaust”: he observes that critics on both ends of the political spectrum derive lessons from the Holocaust, and the nature of these lessons depends entirely on their ideological location. Also, Novick points out, the Holocaust is such an extreme example that its “lessons” can hardly apply to most situations. Langer would cringe at this litany of positive sentiments and the notion that truth, resilience, and even triumph could emerge from the memory of the Holocaust. For Langer, this rhetoric is a grotesque distortion of the truth of the event.

Langer based his powerful study Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory on survivor testimonies in the Fortunoff Video Archives at Yale. Watching these recorded testimonies, he came to an awareness of the disjunction between the experiences of survivors and the redemptive narratives imposed upon Holocaust stories. While representations often depict survivors as heroic and resilient, the victims who tell their stories on video, on the contrary, suffer with permanently damaged selves—still riven by choices made under impossible circumstances. In my class, we read “Pre-empting the Holocaust,” in which Langer defines himself as a “literalist” in relation to the Holocaust, in opposition to “exemplarists.” Langer feels “no impulse—not the slightest—to reclaim meaning from Holocaust atrocity” (108). He wants to confront the truth, even if “literalist discourse about the Holocaust … leads nowhere but back into the pit of destruction” (115). Exemplarists, on the other hand, approach the Holocaust with the intention of finding support for a pre-conceived moral: as evidence of a universal human experience of suffering, as proof of human resilience, or as a reason for working towards world peace.

Even though Langer critiques such distortions of the Holocaust, he also sees the impossibility of finding language to represent the reality accurately. He argues for “accepting a reality that escapes the bounds of any philosophy or system of belief that we have cherished since our beginnings” (106). We can’t inscribe the Holocaust into the “scroll of human discourse”; the task would require a different language altogether, a “scroll of inhuman discourse” (105). So we can hardly ask first-year composition students to invent such a language. But Langer’s argument points the way to a different approach to teaching the Holocaust: rather than attempting to confront the Holocaust itself, in all its overwhelming reality, we can examine a set of concrete and specific texts that are themselves mediations of the event.

To help beginning writers make meaningful claims about the Holocaust, we must stage the process for them as an encounter with texts, rather than as an attempt to face the vast and incomprehensible historical event. I argue for staging the process in part to make the daunting task of writing the Holocaust more manageable; to envision a space for performance in which the student stands alone with only a few texts, rather than a space crowded with historical evidence. By “staging,” I also mean that the process is gradual and progressive. Sommers and Saltz acknowledge that “learning happens in stages; ideas need to be ingested before they can be questioned” (134). They take a long-term view (the entire college experience) when they say that learning happens in stages, but this is a helpful principle even when designing the work of a single semester—often, we can give students stepping-stones to help them across the next writing challenge. That is what I hope my staging process does.

Beginning to look at the museum as a text, to regard artifacts and museums as available for interpretation, is another kind of paradigm shift. Joseph Harris, in the introduction to Rewriting, recognizes that this approach—and even the term “text” itself—may be foreign to first-year students. He introduces the term with some fanfare, explaining the “specialized term” text as “an artifact that holds meaning,” including “movies, plays, songs, paintings, sculptures, photographs, cartoons, videos, billboards, advertisements, web pages ….” and the list goes on. But not everything is a text, Harris cautions: “Unlike actions, memories, or events, texts are objects that have been made and designed” (11). By introducing this “specialized term,” text, and asking students to regard museums and monuments as texts that carry complex meanings, I am inviting them into the community of scholars—I am asking them to regard their surroundings with a more critical eye.

In my seminar, students begin the semester with a “lens” essay in which the writer uses one text (often theoretical) to illuminate an object of analysis. I offer students a variety of theoretical texts to use as “lenses,” and the shared object of analysis is the USHMM. For the “lens” or theoretical texts, I deliberately select critics with contrasting points of view, and my hope is that students feel a strong affinity for, or a need to counter the ideas of, one of these critics. Even though their motivations are quite different, Novick, Langer, and the other critics students read all offer a critical approach—a way of reading the USHMM “against the grain.” In the second stage, students choose an important theoretical passage in their favorite of the “lens” texts and translate this passage into a series of questions that can be directed towards the object of investigation, the museum. We linger in this crucial stage as I try to help students formulate focused questions that will invite analysis.

My student Jody, whose work I’ll discuss shortly, began with Omer Bartov’s essay, “Chambers of Horror,” in which he examines three major Holocaust museums: Yad Vashem in Israel, the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC. Bartov’s most troubling observations are about the DC museum’s tacit insistence that “this is not as bad as that”: that the present realities of poverty and injustice in our country could never be as bad as Nazi persecution of the Jews. The DC museum, he writes, steers us away from the disturbing realization that “it is precisely our own society, our political and economic institutions, as well as mass and individual psychology, [that] contain the potential of another such genocide” (74). Like Novick, Bartov is alert to the ways that Holocaust commemoration can minimize contemporary social problems or divert attention from them; through demonizing the Nazis, we can feel morally secure and free of anxiety about our own system, however inequitable.

Jody adapted Bartov’s skeptical and critical approach; working from a single sentence in Bartov’s article, she developed a complex set of questions about the museum’s subtexts. The sentence she chose from Bartov presents his crucial idea that the museum is not only about the past but also about the present: “Like all cultural institutions, the HMM is not only about memory and its commemoration: it is about the politics of the present and about an interpretation of the past that seeks either to legitimize or to criticize the present” (71). Based on this passage, Jody asked: “Is the USHMM political? Does its existence or material within the exhibit convey an underlying political message? Should it be about the politics? According to Bartov, all important cultural institutions are about the politics. If so, why? If not, then what is the duty or responsibility of a cultural institution in terms of the past, present, and future?” She allowed this set of questions about the political subtexts of the museum to guide her inquiry, and as we’ll see, refined the questions as she drafted and revised.

Once students have extracted a set of questions based on their lens texts, they are ready to visit the museum with these questions in hand, looking for evidence to help them build an argument in response. During the later stages of drafting, students return to the museum on another evidence-finding mission, not only to take a closer look at material that supports their evolving thesis, but also for “complicating” evidence—evidence that calls the thesis into question. If the process goes well, students will move beyond merely confirming or refuting the lens text with material from the museum. Ideally, the encounter yields an argument that goes beyond the lens text, perhaps even enfolding the lens text into its critique.

Resisting the Status of Novice

I would like to examine some of the challenges that come with asking students to work with skeptical texts. One student, Martin, chose to work with Novick, who begins his study with the questions: why here and why now? Why has the Holocaust taken on such an important role in American life, 50 years after the event itself? Novick examines how the Holocaust has become a collective memory with many political uses, among them: bolstering support for Israel; lending “victim status” to the Jewish community; and serving as evidence in favor of American intervention in foreign conflicts. He also, as I mentioned earlier, questions the notion of “lessons of the Holocaust.”

Martin has adopted Novick’s skepticism with the intention of “forwarding” his ideas. For Harris, “forwarding” means borrowing or extending another writer’s ideas, often by bringing them into a new context (46-48). Martin sets out to bring Novick’s doubts about “lessons of the Holocaust” into the USHMM: does the museum deliver the kind of moral transformation it promises? Does it make us more tolerant or even more compassionate people? Viewing the museum through the lens of Novick’s skeptical argument, Martin writes: “Experiencing the USHMM has in no way affected my everyday personal conduct or made me a better person …. Personally, I have read about the Holocaust whether through my own curiosity or as requirements for school and having walked through the USHMM, I feel no different.”

Martin’s striking dismissal brings us back to Sommers and Saltz’s claim that in order to make progress as academic writers, students must discover a project that has meaning for them. Students who sustain an interest in writing no longer see it as merely a means of fulfilling an assignment, but come to regard the process as a way of developing their own ideas and interests, “what matters to them.” And content—working with the moral and historical issues of the Holocaust, for example—can play an important role in catalyzing that shift. On the other hand, Martin reminds us that no content is inherently meaningful; the student writer must always make it so. He always has the power to reject what is presented as worthy of reflection, and to refuse to find in the field a project that is meaningful for him.

Perhaps there’s a kind of satisfaction, which Lopate also hints at, in dismissing what everyone insists must be approached with awe and reverence. Lopate developed an early intolerance for the Holocaust because of his mother’s insistence that he revere survivors; Martin’s resentment developed in school, probably the result of too many “lessons of the Holocaust.” His resistance, built up even before he arrived in my class, combined with the skepticism he has adopted from Novick, make it impossible for him to adopt the status of novice. He is unwilling to see himself as a novice of the Holocaust.

And yet, he is still clearly a novice, perhaps not of the Holocaust, but of the university.Towards the end of Martin’s essay, we come upon a sentence that could serve as an example of the kind of breakdown of thought and language that occurs when freshmen encounter the Holocaust. He writes: “The Holocaust was an event of inexpressible death and destruction but if we as Americans are unable to view it without distorting the messages it may convey, then maybe it should be forgotten.” When I first looked at this sentence, I found a clumsy generalization. The more I look at it, however, the more I see a novice imitating the skepticism of experts. He’s re-stating an idea from our skeptical lens texts: that American representations of the Holocaust are often regrettable distortions. So we might regard this statement not as a collapse of language, but as one stage in a process of learning to ingest and question texts (Sommers and Saltz 134).

Reading Through a Critical Lens

Jody, the student mentioned earlier, did begin the process of writing the essay from a place of humility, of not-knowing. Jody became concerned with the issues Omer Bartov raises—troubling questions about how a museum that ostensibly documents a period of history can also serve other purposes, such as legitimizing or criticizing a current regime. In the critical spirit of Bartov, Jody reworked the motivating questions she had generated from his text, arguing that the USHMM not only communicated the past but commented on the present:

The victims, which included Jews, gypsies, the disabled, homosexuals, and other various groups, were, for the most part, European. So, why then is one of the most famous memorial and museum sites located in the United States? Bartov, in “Chambers of Horror,” explores the significance of the USHMM in the seemingly unrelated location. Does the location convey a message about the Holocaust in American history? Is its very existence a message regarding the U.S.'s political affiliation with Israel? Is the memorial meant to … repair the fact that the U.S. intervened so late during the Holocaust?

Approaching the museum with her inquiry in mind, she looked for messages embedded in the museum display, and especially for signs that the museum covertly legitimizes American foreign policy decisions, both then and now.

One striking feature of Jody’s essay is her focus on how Bartov has influenced her perceptions of the museum, drawing her attention to aspects of the display she might not otherwise have noticed. She highlights her engagement with Bartov’s essay and uses his ideas to illuminate aspects of the museum. She writes: “With Bartov’s…doubts in mind, the permanent exhibit within the USHMM can be seen from a strikingly different perspective …. The eye immediately begins to look for textual or physical evidence of political meaning.” She opens the paper with an examination of the “Identification Card,” which every visitor receives upon entering. She observes that “it has the official Great Seal of the United States with ‘E Pluribus Unum’ inscribed across it…an effort at universalizing the European victims with a U.S. passport in order to relate them to the mostly American visitors.” The identification card, which frames the museum experience, takes on new meaning when seen through the lens of Bartov’s text.

Carrying Bartov’s ideas into the museum, Jody was able to see the places where the United States became the focus in the exhibits, and she worked to interpret any messages encoded in these parts of the display. She focused, for example, on the presentation of the “The Voyage of the St. Louis,” a ship carrying Jewish refugees that was turned away from American ports. This part of the exhibit, she writes, “indeed conveys a political message; the U.S. at that time was a country practicing isolationism, using their distance as a tool to improve its own self strength …. Confirming Bartov’s suspicions, the message here is evident—the [role of] the U.S. was hardly that of a savior to the victims of the Holocaust.” In her analysis of the St. Louis display, Jody comes to see it as a moment of covert criticism of past U.S. policy: a moment when, the display suggests, American xenophobia became starkly evident in the enforcement of immigration policy.

However, Jody remains somewhat hesitant to claim this insight; she’s sensitive to the covert nature of the museum’s critique. Because she’s conscious of the ambiguity, Jody runs into difficulty when she has to formulate a thesis statement. Trying to acknowledge the museum’s complexities, she winds up with a vague thesis:

It is because the involvement of the U.S. was so minimal that makes the museum significant. The memorial museum’s political message is much less of a forthright, scandalizing political message as it is more of a learning one …. The USHMM does not always succeed in remaining neutral in its presentation of facts, but at the same time, does not appear to have any deeper, extreme political meaning.

When the museum praises or critiques the United States, she suggests, it does so very subtly. This is not a very sharp or argumentative thesis—it is more descriptive. In an essay that seems to gather energy through its analysis, and to build towards a decisive claim, the thesis Jody puts forward remains a tentative moment. Despite the tentative nature of this thesis, the essay does demonstrate that Jody is in the process of mastering some key moves of academic writing: approaching the museum as a complex, multi-layered text, with contradictory meanings; and drawing on a theoretical text to interpret these meanings.

Given the analytical moves she makes here, she is on her way to writing with authority about the museum—and therefore, I believe, about other texts—if not about the overwhelming reality of the Holocaust itself.

Critical Authority

I have argued that we must stage the process of writing about the Holocaust as an encounter between texts in part to help students manage the anxieties of writing the Holocaust. But there’s another equally important reason for staging the project this way: the essential work of freshman year is an engagement with texts—a new kind of engagement that is both more critical and more self-aware. Perhaps for the first time, students are asked to pay attention to the constructed nature of texts, and at the same time, to contribute something to a scholarly conversation.

In writing the essay, Jody had several new experiences as a writer and thinker. Instead of regarding the museum as a transparent window into the past, she has come to regard it as a text with embedded political meanings. She came to recognize that historical narratives might critique or legitimize a nation’s choices, for instance about military intervention abroad. These messages might be conveyed consciously or unconsciously; the transmission of an ideological message is not necessarily a conscious choice. In writing this paper, then, Jody internalized some of the key precepts of the cultural historian and took on a more sophisticated approach to reading culture. While Jody and Martin are both hobbled by their status as beginning writers, Jody has managed to overcome this status to a certain extent by adopting the novice’s role—beginning with genuinely troubling and perhaps unanswerable questions.

As part of the project of teaching them to read the cultural landscape more critically, I give students the conceptual tools to read the Holocaust museum against the grain—both because the internal contradictions of the museum are worth examining, and because reading against the grain is often the more productive strategy for textual interpretation. The risk is that, as in Martin’s case, students misconstrue the purpose of skeptical reading: it is not to dismiss the object under analysis, but rather, as Harris writes, “to open up new lines of inquiry” (57). Yet, I believe the process of critical reading with a lens text is worth this risk. Once students begin to use evidence from the museum to respond critically to the lens text, they have begun to acquire the sense of authority that Bartholomae identifies as a prerequisite for academic writing.

This sense of authority is transferable to other courses and writing projects if it is accompanied by the recognition that approaching even non-verbal objects as texts is a fundamental scholarly move that requires an awareness of the steps involved in performing a textual analysis. This knowledge can aid students, not only in tackling the potentially overwhelming subject of the Holocaust, but in facing the awesome and challenging task of writing at the college level.

Works Cited

Bartholomae, David. “Inventing the University." When a Writer Can’t Write: Studies In Writer’s Block and Other Composing-Process Problems. Ed. Mike Rose. New York: Guilford Press, 1985. Print.

Bartov, Omer. “Chambers of Horror: Holocaust Museums in Israel and the United States.” Israel Studies 2.2 (year): 66-87. Print.

Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How to Do Things With Texts. Logan, Utah: Utah State UP, 2006. Print.

Hartman, Geoffrey. “Autobiographical Introduction: ‘Life and Learning.’” The Geoffrey Hartman Reader. Ed. Geoffrey Hartman and Daniel T. O’Hara. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2004. Print.

Langer, Lawrence. “Pre-empting the Holocaust.” Atlantic Monthly November 1998: 105-115. Print.

Lopate, Philip. Portrait of My Body. New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1996. Print.

Novick, Peter. The Holocaust in American Life. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print.

Sommers, Nancy and Laura Saltz. “The Novice as Expert: Writing the Freshman Year.” College Composition and Communication 56.1 (2004): 124-149. Print.

Staines, Deborah R. “Auschwitz and the Camera.” Mortality 7:1 (2002): 13-32. Print.

“Visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Yad Vashem.” Yadvashem.org. n.d. Web. 22 December 2009.