This class was funded by a Lilly Retention Initiative Grant of $10,000, plus $1,000 for library acquisitions. The grant paid for a number of special events, including internationally-renowned visiting speakers, the production of a play by Brecht, a visit to two Holocaust memorials in Chicago, and the construction of a class memorial. The class used an interdisciplinary approach to address various questions relevant to our current postmodern society: Is there a proper way to represent the past? How do we construct a sense of justice in the face of the Holocaust? What is the role of memory (as opposed to institutionalized history) in our relationship to the past? What is the proper role of popular culture in the representation of the Holocaust? What are the chances that something like the Holocaust could happen again in our own society? The general historical goal was to convey to students the everyday conditions that could have made such a sequence of events possible. As a result, one of the most pressing issues we explored is the responsibility of citizens before the law.
This course also posited the premise that writing and critical thinking are the fundamental building blocks of a just society. The philosophical and political assumption behind each class was that only the skill of argumentation can ensure each student's right to freedom and that the beginning of a crime against humanity is the denial of another person's right to be heard.
ADDITIONAL COURSE MATERIAL
|HONR 199 Web Pages
by Dino Felluga
|External Web Sites|
|Course Policies: attendance, late papers, plagiarism, etc.||
A Timeline of the Holocaust: A superb timeline of important dates in the gradual implementation and radicalization of the "Final Solution." The dates proceed from 1931 to 1961 (the trial of Eichamnn) and include links to historical photographs and explanatory information.
|Guide to Terms: explanation of major terms discussed over the course of the semester, including the major Nazi organizations.||List of Extermination Camps: The links on this page provide detailed information about the extermination camps, including a number of historical photographs.|
|Schindler's List Colloquium: a discussion about Spielberg's film led by James Young and joined by Art Spiegelman.||List of Concentration Camps: The links on this page provide detailed information about concentration camps, distinguished from "extermination camps" because they did not have gas chambers. A number of these existed within Germany proper.|
|List of Camps: This is another, even more detailed listing of concentration and extermination camps in Europe during the Nazi period. Links include detailed maps and historical photographs.|
|Slide Show of Birkenau and Mauthausen: This is a very good slide show put together by Alan Jacobs. It walks you through these camps and explains the individual images (including some historical documents). You will here see again a number of the images offered by Claude Lanzmann in his Shoah.|
|A Normal Day in the Camps: An effort to imagine a typical day in a concentration camp.|
|Abe's Story: An interactive map documenting Abram Korn's progress in Nazi-occupied Europe over the course of the Nazi period. This site allows you to imagine yourself following one person's experience of the Final Solution.|
|Biography of Adolf Eichmann: Provided by the History Place.|
|Last Expression: Art from the Holocaust: Superb web site, which includes essays, maps, and virtual tours.|
During this first week, students will be introduced to the subject we will be discussingthe relevant events, dates, figures, and institutions of the Nazi period. The week will, therefore, function as a history lesson in part. I will also take this time to discuss the general goals, assumptions, and reasons for this course: the importance of writing and critical thinking in a just and free society; the role of argumentative structures in jurisprudence; and the definition of "crimes against humanity." We will also begin discussing the cultural representation of the Nazi period by examining Alain Resnais' Night and Fog, Claude Lanzmann's Shoah, and the film version of The Diary of Anne Frank.
Tuesday, January 9
Thursday, January 11
- Shoshana Felman, "Education and Crisis" (READER)
- In-class film: Alain Resnais' Night and Fog (1955)
- In-class film excerpt: George Stevens'The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
SPECIAL SCREENINGS OF CLAUDE LANZMANN'S SHOAH (1985):
January 10: 7:30-10:00pm, LAEB 2290
January 11: 6:30-9:00pm, LAEB 2290
January 12: 6:30-9:00pm, LAEB 2290
January 15: 6:30-9:00pm, LAEB 2290
During this second week, we will continue our discussion about the effect on viewers of different cinematic representations of the Nazi period. What sorts of acts are Shoah, Night and Fog and The Diary of Anne Frank? That is to say, how do each of these films affect us and to what effect? How do each of these films make us feel and what political effects might such feelings lead to? How does the materiality of film (its emphasis on the visual, its preference for narrative progression, its documentary nature) affect our willingness or unwillingness to believe what we see? What are the ethical issues involved in representing the Holocaust?
Tuesday, January 16
- Shoshana Felman, "The Return of the Voice" (READER)
Thursday, January 18
- Geoffrey H. Hartman, "The Book of Destruction" (READER)
SPECIAL SCREENINGS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG'S SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993):
January 22: 6:30-9:30pm, LAEB 2280
Tuesday, January 23
Thursday, January 25
SPECIAL SCREENINGS OF ROBERTO BENIGNI'S LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (1997):
January 29: 6:30-9:30pm, LAEB 2280
We will this week continue our discussion of Art Spiegelman's unconventional
Pulitzer-prize-winning "graphic novel," Maus. While examining Maus,
we will continue our discussion of postmodernism's affect on historical representation.
How do we approach history differently when it is represented in such radically
Tuesday, January 30
Thursday, February 1
- Schindler's List Discussion: led by James Young and joined by Art Spiegelman
- Synopsis of Class: January 30, 2001
- Example of an 'A' paper applying the concept of the simulacrum to George Orwell's 1984
This week, we will continue our discussions about the ideological ramifications of generic choice by examining a few additional examples (and genres) of Holocaust representation: Górecki's "Third Symphony," Donald McCullough's Holocaust Cantata, and Paul Celan's poem, "Death Fugue." We will also consider Adorno's famous claim: "After Auschwitz, it is no longer possible to write poems."
Tuesday, February 6
Thursday, February 8
- MID-TERM EXAM
This week we will begin an examination of the actual events surrounding the Nazi Holocaust. Students will be asked to place Adolf Eichmann on trial and will be divided arbitrarily into prosecution and defense. (The jury will consist of the actors that on March 20 will be performing Brecht's The Private Life of the Master Race.) Primary evidence will consist of excerpts from the actual interrogation of Eichmann, as well as theoretical discussions of the place of the individual in society.
Tuesday, February 13
- Eichmann Interrogated (READER)
Thursday, February 15
- Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (pp. 48-55, 83-111, 148-150, 162-180, 244-98)
During these classes, students will examine historical accounts of the Nazi period, including Daniel Jonah Golhagen's much-discussed book, Hitler's Willing Executioners. We will also be honored with a visit from Robert Gellately, whose book, The Gestapo and German Society, illustrated to what extent Germany's "final solution" required cooperation from the populace to operate.
Tuesday, February 20
- Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners (READER)
SPECIAL EVENING LECTURE BY ROBERT GELLATELY
February 21: 7:00-8:30pm, Krannert Auditorium (including question-and-answer period)
Thursday, February 22
- Robert Gellately, "A Monstrous Uneasiness" (READER)
- CLASS VISIT by Prof. Robert Gellately, the Strassler Family Chair for the Study of Holocaust History, The Center for Holocaust Studies, Clark University.
During this week, we will begin to explore some of the larger philosophical, socieal, and psychological issues that can help shed some light on how an event like the Holocaust could have been possible in our age. We will discuss both the constraints and freedoms facing any individual within the modern nation-state.
Tuesday, February 27
- Michel Foucault, "The Subject and Power" and Discipline and Punish (READER)
Thursday, March 1
- Stanley Milgram, "Some Conditions of Obedience and Disobedience to Authority"
- Newspaper Article on the Zimbardo Experiment
Tuesday, March 6
- Max Weber "The Basis of Legitimacy" and "The Monocratic Type of Bureaucratic Administration" (READER)
Thursday, March 8
- THE TRIAL OF EICHMANN
During these last few weeks, students will be asked to write a research paper on some contemporary issue that bears on the discussions to date. Possible essay topics include: memorialization of the past, museums and memory, the historical representation of the past, neo-Nazism, racism, the political right, multiculturalism, etc.. In the meantime, we will discuss the legacy of Nazism today. We will begin, however, with a play. On Thursday, the jury from the Trial of Eichmann will perform Bertolt Brecht's The Private Life of the Master Race, followed by a question-and-answer period. Tuesday's class has been cancelled to encourage students to attend this weekend's Holocaust Remembrance Conference at Purdue University.
Tuesday, March 20
- CLASS CANCELLED IN FAVOR OF WEEKEND CONFERENCE
Thursday, March 22
THE ANNUAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE CONFERENCE AT PURDUE UNIVERSITY:
March 23, 24, and 25
This week, we will discuss the difficulties of representing this particular historical event by examining the Historikerstreit controversy in Holocaust historiography. We will also continue previous discussions of psychology by examining the psychoanalytical dynamic behind the representation of this period.
Tuesday, March 27
- Jürgen Habermas, "Apologetic Tendencies" and Introduction by Richard Wolin (READER)
- Mary Nolan, "The Historikerstreit and Social History" (READER)
Thursday, March 29
- Dominick LaCapra, "Representing the Holocaust" (READER)
- Eric L. Santner, "History beyond the Pleasure Principle" (READER)
During this week, we will use a discussion of memorials and museums as a springboard to discuss the various issues that have been raised over the course of the semester. Discussions will revolve around critical readings and a sequence of slides documenting American and European Holocaust museums. On Tuesday, Murphy-award-winning teacher, Prof. Rob Sovinski from Purdue's Landscape Architecture Department will present a slide lecture about Polish monuments dedicated to the Holocaust. With these discussions under our belts, we will take a day-trip to Chicago on Thursday, where we will examine two Holocaust memorials: 1) the Zell Holocaust Memorial at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, the nation's first permanent museum exhibition on the Holocaust; and 2) the Avenue of the Righteous at the Evanston Civic Center.
Tuesday, April 3
- Charles S. Maier, "A Usable Past? Museums, Memory, and Identity" (READER)
- CLASS VISIT by Prof. Robert Sovinski, Murphy-award winning teacher, Landscape Architecture, Purdue University
Thursday, April 5
- Andreas Huyssen, Twilight Memories (READER)
- CLASS FIELD TRIP to the Zell Holocaust Memorial and Avenue of the Righteous in Chicago
This week, we will continue our discussion of memory and memorialization, aided by a lecture and class visit by James E. Young, arguably the most preeminent scholar working on these issues today.
SPECIAL AFTERNOON LECTURE BY JAMES E. YOUNG: "Holocaust Memorials in Germany: Memory, Countermemory, and the End of the Monument"
April 9: 5:00-6:30pm, Krannert Auditorium (including question-and-answer period)
TCS GRADUATE-STUDENT COLLOQUIUM ON "THE HOLOCAUST AND CRITICAL THEORY"April 9: 9:00am-4:30pm, Krannert Auditorium
Tuesday, April 10
- James Young, "America's Holocaust" (READER)
- Newspaper Articles on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Vienna Holocaust Memorial
- CLASS VISIT by Prof.James E. Young, Professor and Chairman of the Judaic Studies Department and Professor of English, Department of English, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Thursday, April 12
- Discussion of Holocaust Memorials
This week we will discuss the ways that racism persists in contemporary society.
Tuesday, April 17
- Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness (the year, 1940, in READER)
- Dino Felluga, "Holocaust Iconoclasm and the Anti-Intellectual" (READER)
Thursday, April 19
- In-class Film: Blood in the Face
The class will discuss the various issues that have come up over the course of the year. We will also take this opportunity to discuss problems students are discovering in their research and writing.
Tuesday, April 17
- Material to be provided
Thursday, April 19
- Memorializing the course
Last Revised: January 11, 2001