Holocaust_Syllabus_2010_a_Unrevised - T he Holocaust Spring...

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The Holocaust Spring 2010 Thomas L. Doughton The Seminar This course seeks to contribute to an understanding of Nazi Germany's systematic attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe between 1941 and 1945. The course stresses the historical study of the Holocaust: the course of events, and their origin and context. The geographical focus is on two regions of Europe: Germany, where the impetus for the extermination campaign was generated and the fateful decisions were made; and, Eastern Europe, where over 90 percent of the victims lived and where most of the killing took place. We study not only the perpetrators of the Holocaust but the victims and intended victims, and also the “bystanders”, those among whom the round-ups and extermination took place; and the relevant ideology, the administrative systems, and the general context of the 1930's and 1940's. The materials used include not only accounts by historians, but also historical documents, memoirs and literature written by survivors, as well as films and music. This course attempts to deal with the historical, social and psychological forces, ideas and events leading up to the Holocaust, the attempted annihilation of all Jews and the almost complete destruction of the European Jewish communities (Shoah), and the murder of the non-Jewish “Undesirable Others.” We will seek to investigate and attempt to understand the origins/causes, progression/development, of the onslaught against the Jews and against the non- Jewish “Others,” the “Undesirables.” We will examine, the groups of individuals associated with the Holocaust (perpetrators, victims, bystanders, resistance fighters, rescuers), from a historical as well as psychological/sociological perspective, using an interdisciplinary approach. Expectations and outcome of the seminar could include: Assisting you becoming more knowledgeable about the historical events of the Holocaust including periods before, during and after World War II. Making you familiar with research, across different disciplines, on topics such as extreme prejudice, propanganda and murder of “undesirables.” Familiarizing you with the effects of extreme victimization (ie. torture, dehumanization, “choiceless-choice”) on individuals and groups, examining these effects both during the Holocaust and in other genocides. Exploring the psychological/sociological nature of evil through an examination of the perpetrators (ie. Hitler, SS officers, Einsatzgruppen) of the Holocaust; the question of the “banality of evil”; and questioning what enables individuals both individually and collectively to perpetrate Holocaust Seminar: Spring 2010 Page 1
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evil/genocide. Examining the nature of resistance both active and passive as it occurred in the ghettos, concentration/extermination camps, and throughout Europe; and questioning what enables individuals both individually (for example, individual rescuers) and collectively (for example, partisans) to resist evil/genocide.
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