Ken Burns and his collaborators have been creating documentary films on PBS for over 40 years. Known for a style that brings primary source documents, images, and archival video footage to life on screen, these films present the opportunity to pose thought-provoking questions. Using the documentary “US and the Holocaust” by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein as a starting point, the course will use video clips to consider the United States and its response to the Holocaust. Lesson topics cover the impacts of Nazi ideology, US immigration law in the period of 1924-1941, US media coverage of the Holocaust and its role in shaping what America knew, the varying symbolism of the Statue of Liberty, an examination of how people make choices during times of crisis, and an inquiry inviting students to consider if US public opinion influenced US response to the Holocaust. Watching the documentary in advance of the class is recommended, but not required.
NOTE: WARNING: This film and the course contain material that may be sensitive for some students. There will be no class meeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday January 15, or on January 29 and February 19.