Visual Culture and the Holocaust. Rutgers University Press, 2001.

Cover of the book Visual Culture and the Holocaust at Annenberg School for Communication ASC UPenn
Editor: Barbie Zelizer

How does one represent the Holocaust? What does it mean to visualize it? Despite Theodor Adorno's famous injunction that there can be no poetry after the Holocaust, the past half century has produced repeated attempts to impart that which has been considered beyond the limits of representation. From Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary project Shoah, to Art Spiegelman's Maus, the visual domain has emerged as a fruitful venue for representing those horrible times.

Visual Culture and the Holocaust takes that domain as its focus. It considers the increasing number of works that claim to give us access to the Holocaust, asking for whom these images are intended and how effective they are at promoting remembrance and understanding. Barbie Zelizer has gathered essays from a group of internationally renowned scholars representing a broad range of disciplines to consider both the traditional and the unconventional ways in which the Holocaust has been visually represented. In addressing film, painting, photography, museum exhibits, television, the Internet, and the body itself as venues for these representations, the essays explore the abilities of these different genres to testify to the tragedy, particularly in relation to the horrific historical fact they seek to translate.

Visual Culture and the Holocaust substantially enhances what we know of the visual representation of the Holocaust. An introduction by the editor provides an important historical and theoretical overview of these efforts as well as a context in which these accomplishments may be understood.