Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William F. Pinar


Curriculum theory is a call to understanding. My call as a curriculum theorist is to attempt to understand work around the Holocaust. This study examines the ways in which the Holocaust gets represented in texts written by historians as well as texts written by novelists. I argue that memory is the larger category under which history is subsumed; history is the systematization of memory. Although historians draw on archives and are constrained by their discipline, nevertheless they operate out of their own memories. Psychological transference, repression, denial, projection and reversal shape historians' memories and therefore determine, to a certain extent, what gets represented in the first place. Novels around historical events are also forms of memory. Like the craft of doing history, novel writing is a kind of systematization of memory. Writers organize, select and narrate. Novel writing, however, is not reducible to memory; since writers, even if drawing on their own memories, are constrained by the narrative form. For both historians and novelists, personal memories function out of sites of psychological transference, repression, denial, projection and reversal and may therefore determine the ways in which writers construct the past. When educators attempt to grapple with competing memories and representations of the Holocaust, they might do so under what I call the sign of a dystopic curriculum. A dystopic curriculum is one that brings into awareness the ways in which transference relations with texts influence what it is that historians and novelists write about, as well as influence researchers' responses to what I call difficult memory texts such as the Holocaust. Understanding the Holocaust is therefore ambivalent and must remain open to tentative interpretations.