Professor Derwin earned her Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1988. She researches in the fields of Holocaust studies, humanities and human rights, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century narrative. She is also an affiliate of the Comparative Literature Program.
Her publications include The Ambivalence of Form: Lukács, Freud, and the Novel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), essays on Holocaust denial, the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance, Huckleberry Finn, Blue Velvet and the essays of M.F.K. Fisher. She is presently working on a book called "Holocaust Narratives: The Rage that Never Was." about the relationship between narrative and healing in texts by Jean Améry, Primo Levi, Saul Friedlaender, Imre Kertész, Binjamin Wilkomirski and in Liliane Cavani's film The Night Porter.
Professor Derwin currently teaches courses on representations of the Holocaust, humanities in times of torture, contemporary European literature, and literary theory, with an emphasis on psychoanalysis.