Reading Loop – Spring 2022

“Reading Loop” is a close reading or discussion by an invited contributor.

A Survivor’s Guilt: On Disability in Maus and Memory

Kevin C. Treadway

Author’s Note: This essay was originally written as the final paper for a class on disability in comic books taken in the spring of 2019 at Syracuse University. Much has changed since then both for the world and for myself, and, like many, I have struggled and continue to struggle to fully reconcile the events of the past few years. When I first wrote this paper, I didn’t know that, about three years later, Maus would return to widespread public and media attention as a result of efforts to remove its place in certain school curricula. Reading about this attempted censorship and Art Spiegelman’s nuanced responses to those efforts brought me to revisit the paper I wrote three years ago on Maus’s presentation of intergenerational trauma, for which it has been rightfully celebrated.

Click here to read Kevin C. Treadway’s Reading Loop essay (in Microsoft Word).

Content Warning: Nazism, Anti-Semitism, Ableism, Suicide

Editor’s Note: For more information about Aktion T4, view a videorecording of the panel presentation, On Being a Vicarious Witness: Aktion T4 and Contesting the Erasure of Disability History on YouTube, and review a listing of accompanying resources, shared by panelists and the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach in the Burton Blatt Institute.

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About the Author

Kevin Clark Treadway is a graduating senior at Syracuse University. He is a triple major in History, Political Science, and Classics, with minors in Atrocity Studies and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. He is a McNair Scholar and member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program and Phi Alpha Theta and Pi Sigma Alpha honors societies. He was President of the Syracuse University Disability Student Union from 2019 to 2021 and serves on the Syracuse University Senate. He is poor and neurodivergent—aspects of identity that he recognizes as having profoundly influenced his life and the areas of academic interest that he intends to develop further through graduate study. He can be reached at