Nathaniel Parker Weston
Explores the Holocaust as crucial event of the twentieth century. Examines the origins of the Holocaust, perpetrators and victims, and efforts to come to terms with this genocide in Europe, Israel, and the United States. Offered: jointly with JSIS C 269.
The Holocaust, the murder of six million Jews by Germans in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, is one of the crucial events of modern history. This course examines the origins of the Holocaust, the perpetrators and the victims, and changing efforts to come to terms with this genocide. Students will explore the forces that led to the Holocaust, including the emergence of scientific racism, anti-Semitism, and the machinery of the modern state. We will consider debates about the implementation of genocide, including the significance of gender and sexuality; the relationship between war and genocide; the meanings of resistance and culpability; and political and philosophical implications of the Holocaust. We will explore how the genocide of European Jewry was intertwined with the targeting of other victims of Nazi rule, including Roma, Slavs, black Germans, the disabled, homosexuals, and political opponents of National Socialism. In addition to considering how the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, we will examine the ways in which changing political conditions in the post-WWII period have shaped and reshaped memories of this event. Finally, we will investigate the question of the “uniqueness” of the Holocaust relative to other genocides.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
part lecture and part seminar
Class assignments and grading
This class will be a “W” course and hence will require three 5 page papers covering the course textbooks and films, in addition to two take-home identification exams, drawn from the course lectures, and weekly 1 page written reactions to the assigned readings, performed in preparation for class discussions.