Erin McGlothlin

Erin McGlothlin

Chair and ​Associate Professor of German and Jewish Studies
PhD, University of Virginia
research interests:
  • 20th- and 21st-Century German Literature
  • Holocaust Studies (Literature, Film, and Theory)
  • Jewish Studies (Contemporary German-Jewish and Diasporic Jewish Literature)
  • Narrative Theory
  • Autobiography
  • Memory Studies
  • The Graphic Novel

contact info:

office hours:

  • Thursdays, 1:00 to 2:00 pm
    by appointment
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mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1104
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor McGlothlin's main research interests are in the areas of Holocaust literature and film and German-Jewish literature.

McGlothlin is the author of Second-Generation Holocaust Literature: Legacies of Survival and Perpetration (2006) and has co-edited two volumes: After the Digital Divide?: German Aesthetic Theory in the Age of New Digital Media (2009, with Lutz Koepnick) and Persistent Legacy: The Holocaust and German Studies (2016, with Jennifer Kapczynski). A third co-edited volume, The Construction of Testimony: Claud Lanzmann's Shoah and its Outtakes (with Brad Prager and Markus Zisselsberger), will appear in 2020. Additionally, she has published articles in major journals and edited volumes on Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Ruth Klüger’s weiter leben, Edgar Hilsenrath’s Der Nazi und der Friseur, Bernhard Schlink’s Der Vorleser, and other fictional and non-fictional works of Holocaust literature and film and German-Jewish literature. She is currently finishing a book titled Constructing the Mind of the Holocaust Perpetrator in Fictional and Documentary Discourse, which is under advance contract with Wayne State University Press. 

In addition to a comparative focus on the literature of the Holocaust, McGlothlin’s research and teaching interests include postwar and contemporary German literature, Jewish Studies, narrative theory, autobiography, and the graphic novel. She has also created with Anika Walke a year-long first-year seminar on the Holocaust that culminates in a study trip to Holocaust-related sites in Germany, Poland, and Lithuania.

McGlothlin was a research fellow in residence at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in 2006, was a co-leader with Anita Norich of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Hess Faculty Seminar on Holocaust Literature in January 2014, and was an instructor at the Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization at Northwestern University in 2016 and 2018. She has received additional research grants from the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Washington University Center for the Humanities. In Summer 2010, she was a DAAD Guest Professor at the Universities of Dortmund and Paderborn. She is also co-editor (with Brad Prager) of the Camden House book series Dialogue and Disjunction: Studies in Jewish German Literature, Culture, and Thought, and is on the editorial board of German Studies Review and a member of the Academic Council of the Holocaust Educational Foundation at Northwestern University.

From 2010 to 2012, Professor McGlothlin was Director of Research, and, in 2013, Interim Director of the Washington University Center for the Humanities.

Spring 2020 Course

Ampersand: Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film

As the Holocaust recedes into the historical past, our knowledge of the event becomes increasingly dominated by literary and cinematic representations of it. This course focuses on such depictions of the Holocaust in literature and film and raises a number of challenging questions: What does it mean to represent the horror of the Holocaust, and how literary works and films adequately do so? Can one effectively depict the event in realistic terms, or do unrealistic representations work better? What happens to the history of the Holocaust when it becomes the subject of a fictional text? Who is authorized to speak for the victims? Are representations of perpetrators appropriate? Which experiences of the Holocaust are most often represented in the contemporary public imagination, and which are ignored or repressed? What role does generational and temporal distance play in the cultural memory of the genocide? Can one speak of a "master narrative" of the Holocaust? We will grapple with these questions by examining both literary texts (including survivor memoirs, wartime accounts, journalistic explorations, fictional narratives, and a graphic novel) and documentary and feature film. This course is open only to students who have been admitted to the Ampersand: History, Memory and Representation of the Holocaust program.