Resources for Faculty
The Holocaust is a difficult subject, and Maus, despite the ease of reading the comic book format, is not light. But it asks important
questions. Some are historical, about why and how the Holocaust happened, and about whether it could happen again;
some are ethical, about what our responsibilities are to one another in the face of danger and oppression,
and about our responsibility to deal with or make amends for the past; some are personal, about our relationship to our parents, about how their experiences shape us. Spiegelman's
choice of comic book form, opens up another line of artistic questions, about how to talk about and how to draw the horrors of the Holocaust.
Resources for Faculty can be found on the Marx Library Guide to Maus, which presents and curates an enormous amount of information about issues around
Maus and the Holocaust and at the Common Read Project Site on USA Online, which presents material organized around three basic themes:
Historical background – readings, discussion questions and suggested assignments that will help students
understand the larger context of WWII, European anti-Semitism, and the workings of
the death camps.
Storytelling – readings, discussion questions and suggested assignments that will help students
analyze and understand the structure of the book, including some background about
memoirs and graphic novels in general, and about other artistic accounts of the Holocaust.
Contemporary issues – readings, discussion questions and suggested assignments that will help students
see the connections between the issues raised in Maus and by the Holocaust and major
issues of today about migration, refugees, and human rights.
To access the Common Read Project Site on USA Online you need to log on to USA Online and then search for "joinable groups." Select Common
Read 2016-2017. The site will also include Maus Reading Questions for use in reading quizzes, for use in class to make sure students are doing the
reading, or just to get discussion started with a couple of straightforward questions.
In addition to these resources:
The Common Read Podcast presents conversations with faculty members and other guests around Maus and related issues. Use them just for your own background information, listen to them in class (like a
virtual guest lecture), or assign them to students as homework. Most of the podcast
participants are faculty here on campus and would be happy to answer further questions
by email, or (time permitting) to do a longer presentation in your class. More episodes coming soon.