Why Teaching Maus Matters Now More Than Ever | National Humanities Center

Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Why Teaching Maus Matters Now More Than Ever

Censorship; Discrimination; Pedagogy; Literary Criticism

Scott Denham (Charles A. Dana Professor of German Studies, German Studies Department, Davidson College) and Barbara E. Mann (Chana Kekst Professor of Jewish Literature, Modern Jewish Studies Department, Jewish Theological Seminary of America)

November 3, 2022

In January 2022, the school board in McMinn County, TN, banned Art Spiegelman’s Maus from their middle school curriculum. This action, together with numerous other recent episodes of the banning of books related to LGBTQ+ identity, immigrant narratives, and questions of race and ethnicity, raises important questions about the classroom as a site of censorship and pedagogy as a tool of resistance. Especially given the rise of authoritarian regimes abroad, and the visibility and influence of extremist right-wing thought in the US, Maus offers important reminders of how societies have dehumanized entire populations in the past, and how acknowledging this history provides a model of compassion and empathy for the present.

This workshop will provide practical pedagogy for the teaching of Maus—focusing on the unique form and aesthetics of comix and the graphic novel, as well as essential historical and cultural background for teaching about life–writing, memoir, and the Holocaust.


Literature / Education Studies / Censorship / Discrimination / Pedagogy / Literary Criticism /