HIST 490 Fall 2012 Memory, History, and the Extermination of the Jews of Europe: Dangerous History (W)

Cross Listed as JWST490
The atrocities committed by Nazi Germany during the Second World War continue to trouble historians in their attempts to understand and represent them in all their magnitude and horror. Beyond historians, the complicity of segments of European societies in perpetrating those atrocities continues to raise thorny questions for postwar European nations about what their responsibilities are toward that past. This tutorial will focus on a series of questions relating to the historicization and memorialization of the extermination of European Jews. They include: Is the Holocaust unique? Is it a Jewish story or universal story? Does the Holocaust raise different issues for the historian than other historical events? How should the Holocaust be represented and what are the implications of different means of representing it? What role, if any, did European Jews play in their own destruction? Has Germany faced up to its past? Were Germans also victims of World War II? Who were the "bystanders" as compared to the "perpetrators"? Were the postwar trials of perpetrators a travesty of justice? How appropriate are the different uses that Israel and the United States have made of the Holocaust? By the end of the course, students will have grappled with the ongoing controversies that have arisen among scholars, governments, and lay people about the meaning (and meaninglessness) of the Holocaust for the postwar world. In a world in which extraordinary acts of violence continue to be perpetrated and more and more nations' pasts are marked by episodes of extreme criminality and/or trauma, exploring the manner by which one such episode has been remembered, avenged, and adjudicated should prove relevant for future consideration of other societies' efforts to confront their own traumatic pasts.
Class Format: tutorial; class time consists of weekly one-hour sessions with the instructor and a fellow student
Requirements/Evaluation: every other week the student will write and present orally a 5- to 7-page paper on the assigned readings of that week
Additional Info: additional requirments on alternate weeks, the student will write a 2-page critique of the fellow student's paper; a final written exercise, a thought piece on the issues raised in the tutorial, will cap off the semester's work
Additional Info2: not available for the Gaudino option
Prerequisites: permission of instructor
Enrollment Preference: History majors and Jewish Studies concentrators
Department Notes:
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia,JWST Core Electives
Enrollment Limit: 10
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 1471
HIST490-T1(F) TUT Memory, History, Extermination (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Alexandra Garbarini
TBA 1471
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