Political Science | Holocaust & Politics
Y352 | 3944 | Bielasiak
This course confronts the issue of individual and collective
responsibility for crimes against humanity, both during and after the
Holocaust. The first part covers the political antecedents and
ideological arguments concerning the "Jewish question" and the
evolution of the Final Solution. The second part addresses the
question of responsibility from the vantage of perpetrators, victims,
and bystanders during the Holocaust. The third part looks to the
impact of the Holocaust on post-war ethical and political
considerations. This final segment of the course looks reflects on
the question of the world's dehumanization in the 20th century. Our
aim is not only to understand the Holocaust and genocide, but also to
account for the tragedy in a way that confronts our humanity and our
commitments to become more than bystanders to history.
We will use a variety of sources, historical studies and survivors'
testimonies, documentary and fictional accounts, films and poems. In
particular, we will rely on documentary films that deal with the
issue of mass murder and responsibility. Class assignments will go
beyond the typical examinations so that we can personalize the issues
through reaction essays, first-person narratives, and policy memos.
To accomplish these goals, attendance is expected at all class
sessions. Written requirements include a midterm, a short paper, and
a final exam.