This is an archived site (as of 1 November 2023) about two iterations of the Maus Course taught by Scott Denham, Charles A. Dana Professor of German Studies at Davidson College, and Barbara Mann, Stephen H. Hoffman Professor of Modern Hebrew at Case Western Reserve University. All are welcome to explore the links below and to be in touch with either of us with any questions.
Welcome to the Maus Course. This version is for readers in the Nixa, Missouri, community because the school board members there threatened to ban Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and Maus II. While the book survived the ban, in large part because of the work of the local group U Turn in Education, which is a grassroots group started in Nixa, MO, made up of “concerned citizens, teachers, and parents of public school students who want to support educational opportunities for ALL who seek them”; see their good work here. The work of PEN America and their national story here was also important in helping keep Maus available, though the school board did ban several other books, taking away from teachers and students the freedom to read and learn.
Beginning in October, on five successive Tuesdays, Scott Denham, Charles A. Dana Professor of German Studies at Davidson College, and Barbara Mann, Stephen H. Hoffman Professor of Modern Hebrew at Case Western Reserve University, experts on Maus, Holocaust literature, comix and graphic novels, Jewish literature, and memory studies, will host and lead a reading course for Nixa citizens. Sponsored by the Christian County Public Library Nixa Community Branch, and facilitated by Brandon Jason, Branch Manager there. See the library events page here.
sign up here
Nixa community members can sign up for this free course, offered on zoom with a live in-person component at the Nixa Community Branch, by filling out the form here [archived]. Just let me know if you plan to attend on zoom.
Tuesdays 5:30 – 6:30 CST weekly Oct 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Tuesday Oct 3
Go here for our slides from Tuesday Oct 3. (including some slides on book banning that we didn’t get to)
Preparation notes for our meetings
Oct 10 – read through chapter 4, p. 95; watch Art Spiegelman interviews; write down (and send us if you want) some discussion questions or favorite pages in the book. Go here for our Tuesday homework page and the links for reading, watching, and writing.
Oct 17 – read through the end of volume 1; watch the narratology video; write down (and send us if you want) some discussion questions or favorite pages in the book. Go here for our Tuesday homework page [make new page here] and the links for reading, watching, and writing.
Oct 24 – read through the first two chapters of volume 2, through p. 74.
Here are some notes and ideas to get us started.
Oct 31 notes here
For further reading see our notes here.
archive and history of the reading Maus course
From here down read about the initial project from February and March 2022 to read Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and Maus II with folks in McMinn County, Tennessee, because the county school board there banned this Pulitzer Prize-winning work.
[This, below, is from March 2022, after the course had finished.]
These pages remain up as an archive of the antisemitic action of the McMinn County, TN, schoolboard members when they banned Maus from the school curriculum. This was my response to their actions. I made this free, open course. My McMinn County students and I had a wonderful time reading this difficult and necessary text together. I will treasure that experience.
Prof. Barbara Mann, Stephen H. Hoffman Professor of Modern Hebrew at Case Western Reserve University and an expert on teaching Maus, visited my course in March 2022. Prof. Mann and I offered a webinar for teachers through the National Humanities Center in November 2022. There are many wonderful free webinars for teachers through the Humanities in Class Webinar program. Our course was called “Why Teaching Maus Matters Now More Than Ever.” Our workshop provided practical pedagogy for the teaching of Art Spiegelman’s 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.
–Scott Denham, Charles A. Dana Professor of German Studies, Davidson College
The course is for McMinn County students only. Registration is closed (2/5/22).