Erin McGlothlin

​Associate Professor of German and Jewish Studies
Director of Graduate 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:

  • Monday & Wednesday
  • 4:00 - 5:00 pm​
Get Directions

mailing address:

  • CB 1104
  • 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). Additionally, she has published articles in major journals and edited volumes on such topics as Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, 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 working on a book titled Constructing the Mind of the Holocaust Perpetrator in Fictional and Documentary Discourse, which is under advance contract with Northwestern 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. 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.

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

recent courses

FOCUS: Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film (Focus 2851)

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 provocative questions: What does it mean to represent the horror of the Holocaust? 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? What types of representations will help us to remember the Holocaust in the twenty-first century? We will grapple with these challenging questions by examining both literary texts by American, European and Israeli authors from a range of genres, including survivor memoirs, fictional narratives, a graphic novel, drama and poetry, and a number of films that depict the Holocaust.

    Between Transmission and Transgression - Representing the Holocaust (German 528)

    As the Holocaust recedes into the historical past, our knowledge of the event becomes increasingly dominated by literary and cinematic representations of it. This graduate-level course will investigate artistic mediations of the Holocaust, focusing in particular on questions of ethics, aesthetics and history and concentrating on two objectives. First, we will examine the various debates and controversies surrounding the issue of artistic representation of the Holocaust and discuss some of the theoretical and philosophical texts that have formed the core of Holocaust Studies by critics such as James Young, Dominick LaCapra, Marianne Hirsch, Sidra Ezrahi, and Geoffrey Hartman. Second, we will explore the ways in which literature and film, both fictional and documentary/testimonial, have attempted to narrate the events of the Holocaust. We will examine exemplary responses to the Shoah in a variety of genres by writers and filmmakers such as Primo Levi, Jean Améry, Jurek Becker, Aaron Appelfeld, Liana Millu, David Grossman, Edgar Hilsenrath, Art Spiegelman, Claude Lanzmann and Alain Resnais. Central to our exploration of these texts will be issues of representation, the role of memory, the problems and limits of language, questions of trauma, the phenomena of postmemory and multidirectional memory, and the notion that a "master narrative" of the Holocaust has emerged in public discourse.

      Topics in Holocaust Studies: Children in the Shadow of the Swastika (German 331)

      This course will approach the history, culture and literature of Nazism, World War II and the Holocaust by focusing on one particular aspect of the period-the experience of children. Children as a whole were drastically affected by the policies of the Nazi regime and the war it conducted in Europe, yet different groups of children experienced the period in radically different ways, depending on who they were and where they lived. By reading key texts written for and about children, we will first take a look at how the Nazis made children-both those they considered "Aryan" and those they designated "enemies" of the German people, such as Jewish children-an important focus of their politics. We will then examine literary texts and films that depict different aspects of the experience of European children during this period: daily life in the Nazi state, the trials of war and bombardment in Germany and the experience of expulsion from the East and defeat, the increasingly restrictive sphere in which Jewish children were allowed to live, the particular difficulties children faced in the Holocaust, and the experience of children in the immediate postwar period.