PSYC 3225/HRTS 3600
Professor: Dr. Linda M. Woolf
- Amery, J. (1980). At the minds limits: Contemplations by a survivor on Auschwitz and its realities. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
- Des Pres, T. (1976). The survivor: An anatomy of life in the death camps. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Bergen, D. L. (2003). War & genocide: A concise history of the Holocaust. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Paskuly, S. (Ed.) (1996). Death dealer: The memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz Rudolph Hoss. New York: Da Capo Press.
- Selected readings to be provided or placed on e-reserve in the library - each noted below.
Course Description:The Holocaust remains an unparalleled instance in human history of industrialized, systematic genocide. As such, the Holocaust has been examined extensively from a historical and political perspective. However, much less has been done to examine the Holocaust from a psychological or sociological perspective. Although there are questions related to the Holocaust that psychology/sociology can not answer, it is important to seek understanding through these questions. This course will use a psychological/sociological perspective to examine the groups of individuals associated with the Holocaust (perpetrators, victims, bystanders, resistance fighters, rescuers) noting that these groups are not always mutually exclusive. Issues to be explored include:
- the question of what enables individuals collectively and individually to perpetrate genocide
- the nature of extreme prejudice
- the psychology of propaganda
- the impact of extreme victimization on the victim (during the Holocaust, upon liberation, and in latter years)
- the question of what enabled some individuals, groups, or countries to become actively involved in resistance while others remained passive bystanders and others sympathizers or collaborators
The roles that psychology, psychologists, and psychiatrists played during the Holocaust and the question, "Can it happen again?" also will be examined.
Course Objectives and Outcomes:
Helen Fein in her introduction to Accounting for Genocide writes:
- Objective: To become more knowledgeable concerning the historical events of the Holocaust including the periods before, during, and after World War II.
- Objective: To become familiar with the research on topics such as extreme prejudice and propaganda.
- Objective: To become familiar with the effects of extreme victimization (ie. torture, dehumanization, "choiceless-choice") on individuals and groups. To examine these effects both during and after the Holocaust.
- Objective: To explore the psychological/sociological nature of evil through an examination of the perpetrators (ie. Hitler, SS officers, einsatzgruppen) of the Holocaust. To explore the question of the "banality of evil". To question what enables individuals both individually and collectively to perpetrate evil/genocide.
- Objective: To examine the nature of resistance both active and passive as it occurred in the ghettos, concentration/extermination camp s, and throughout Europe. To question what enables individuals both individually (for example, individual rescuers) and collectively (for example, partisans) to resist genocide.
- Objective: To examine the nature of bystander behavior as it occurred in Europe and throughout the world and the impact of bystander behavior on the perpetration of genocide.
- Objective: To examine the role of psychological/sociological theory, psychologists, and psychiatrists during the Holocaust.
- Objective: To explore the question of "Can it happen again?".The demon to record, to cry out, to communicate possessed other Jews throughout Europe who did not have time or the materials with which to tell their story. Abba Kovner, Israeli poet and former resistance leader in Vilna, tells the story of one of these people. In the Vilna ghetto, after a raid by Lithuanian police in which Jews were removed, soon to be murdered in the Ponary forest, he entered what he thought was a deserted room in an empty house. There sat a man pushing the treadle of a sewing machine, under whose empty needle was a piece of white paper, punctuated by the needle's incision of the pattern of stitch-holes.Fein continues:
"What are you doing here?" Kovner asked.
"I am writing the history of the ghetto," the man replied.
"You are writing the history of the ghetto on paper on a sewing machine without thread?"
"When the war is over," the man replied, "there will be time to pull through the thread."I have tried to pull through the threads as best I can. Others may find a different pattern, and still others may note punctures that I have failed to see and complete the tale.During our time this semester, let us work to pull through some of these threads together.
Class Meetings:The class will meet on Thursdays from 5:30 - 9:30. Classroom attendance and class discussion will greatly enhance your understanding of the material presented in this class. Also, material will be presented that is not in any of the books.
This course will be challenging for several reasons. First, it entails a fair amount of reading. If this is to be a good class, it is essential for everyone to do the reading, come to class, and be prepared to participate in the discussion. Second, this course is difficult because of its almost unrelieved concentration on human suffering and extreme, deliberately inflicted cruelty; the information presented in this class is difficult to read and difficult to discuss. There will be opportunities for class members to discuss thoughts and feelings that arise during the course.
A midterm exam, a final exam, four short response papers, an analysis paper, and class participation/discussion.
All grades will be assigned on a scale of 0 - 10 with:
90 - 100 A-,A Excellent 80 - 89 B-,B,B+ Above Average 70 - 79 C-,C,C+ Average 60 - 69 D-,D,D+ Below Average Less than 60 F Failing
Percent of Grade:Examinations: Exams will include multiple choice, matching, short answer, and essay. It will cover material presented in lecture, readings, and discussion. The midterm and final exams will each be worth 35 percent of your final grade.
Examinations 70% Analysis Paper 20% Class participation/Discussion 10%Policy: All exams must be taken on the date scheduled. In case of an emergency, the instructor must be notified. No make-up exams will be give if you fail to notify and discuss your situation with the instructor. It is up to the instructor's discretion whether to offer or not offer a make-up exam. Please note that no extra credit work will be make available to make-up for a poor test grade.
Analysis Paper: The purpose of the analysis paper is to provide you, the student, with the opportunity to explore the perpetration of the Holocaust from a psychological/sociological perspective in depth. The paper will consist of an evaluation of the autobiography of Rudolph Hoss in relation to material discussed in class and readings. The analysis paper is worth 20 percent of your final grade. Information concerning the Analysis Paper can be found on eReserves.
Class Participation & Discussion: Please realize that your participation in this class is extremely important. As such, class participation will constitute 10 percent of your final grade. The class participation grade will derive from regular attendance and everyday discussion and analysis. Please be aware that missing class (both excused and unexcused absences) will impact your grade in this area. Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact me or the Director of the Academic Resource Center, as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations can be implemented in a timely fashion.
Policy Statements:Use of Electronic Devices in the Classroom: Please respect others in the class by turning off all cell phones and pagers before entering the room. Text messaging during class is not acceptable. Laptops may be used in class but are only to be utilized for class related activities (e.g., taking notes). If it becomes apparent you are using the computer for non-class activities (e.g., checking your email, playing games) then you may be asked to turn off your computer and refrain from bringing it into class in the future. Laptop use is restricted to the back or sides of the classroom so that other students are not distracted during lecture.
Plagiarism (attempting to pass off the work of another as one's own) is not acceptable. Plagiarism includes copying all or part of another's writings (even a single sentence), inappropriate paraphrasing, using another student's paper as your own, submitting a paper for more than one class. All papers will be submitted to the university's plagiarism database for review. Plagiarism, either intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment and will be turned over to the appropriate university source for disciplinary action. In addition, cheating on exams will also result in the same fate.Here are some Web sites that will help you avoid the problem of plagiarism particularly plagiarism resulting from paraphrasing too closely to the original source. -
- Establishing Authorship by Paul C. Smith, Alverno College
- How to Avoid Plagiarism Tutorial
- The University of Indiana's Online Plagiarism Tutorial - You can print out a certificate of completion!
It should be noted that, as is common in many university courses, little time will be spent lecturing on topics adequately addressed by the text. Students are expected to arrive at class meetings having already read the material assigned, and to ask questions to clarify any areas that remain unclear. While every attempt will be made to explain or expand upon particularly difficult areas, the primary purpose of classroom lecture is to enhance, rather than to duplicate, the textbook material.
Late withdraws from this class will not be approved by the instructor except in cases of emergency discussed with the instructor. No late withdraws will be approved on the basis of poor class performance.
This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. All changes concerning course requirements will be provided in writing. Changes concerning exam dates may be made at the instructor's discretion and communicated verbally to the class.It is understood that remaining in this course (not dropping or withdrawing from this course) constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms outlined in this syllabus and an acceptance of the requirements outlined in this document.
Course OutlineThe schedule below provides a general guideline to the semester and is flexible based on any need for additional discussion of a particular topic.
Date Topic and Readings Oct. 27
Introduction to the Class
Scope of the Holocaust
A Psychosocial Model of Genocide
- Chapter 1, War & Genocide
- Psychosocial roots of genocide: Risk, prevention, and intervention, by L. Woolf & M. Hulsizer in Journal of Genocide Research, 7, 101-128.
- Moral exclusion and injustice: An introduction, by S. Opotow in Journal of Social Issues, 46, 1-20. (Optional)
- Social circumstances and factors that incite the upsurge of nationalism, in The Mass Psychology of Ethnonationalism, by D. Kecmanovic (Optional)
Roots of the Holocaust:
- Theories of Stereotyping, Prejudice, & Discrimination
- Rise of Nazism: A Monolithic Culture
- Anti-Jewish Policies: First Steps down the Path to Genocide
- Chapters 2 - 5, War & Genocide
Hitler's Eugenics Theory - A Rationale for Genocide
Non-Jewish Groups Targeted
Bystander Behavior The Path Towards Genocide: Ghettoization, Concentration Camps, Slave Labor
- Eugenics and Nazi race theory in practice, by George Mosse in The History and Sociology of Genocide, edited by F. Chalk & K. Jonassohn.
- A mosaic of victims: Non-Jewish victims of Nazism, in Witness to the Holocaust, edited by M. Berenbaum pp. 102 - 111
- The abandonment of the Jews, by D. Wyman in The Holocaust, edited by D. Niewyk
- "Mastering the past": Germans and Gypsies, by G. Tyrnauer in The History and Sociology of Genocide, edited by F. Chalk & K. Jonassohn (Optional)
- Chapters 2 - 5, War & Genocide
Nov. 17 MIDTERM
Life on the Path to Genocide
- Operation Reinhard Camps
- Chapter 6, War & Genocide
- One day in Jozefow: Initiation to mass murder, by C. Browning in Lessons and Legacies, edited by P. Hayes
- Babi Yar, in Witness to the Holocaust, edited by M. Berenbaum
- Hitler's plan to exterminate the Jews, in Witness to the Holocaust, edited by M. Berenbaum
- Please make sure you have read Death Dealer: Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz soon!.
Rent/View Schindler's List - Participate in Discussion via Blackboard
- Chapters 7 - 8, War & Genocide
- Torture, in At the Mind's Limit, by J. Amery
- The will to witness, in The Survivor, by T. Des Pres
- Excremental assault, in The Survivor by T. Des Pres
- At the mind's limit, in At the Mind's Limit, by J. Amery
Dec. 1 Perpetration of Genocide
Torture: Perpetrators and Victims
Life on the Path to Genocide
Perpetration of Genocide: Personality Factors
Perpetration of Genocide: Situational Factors
- The call to arms, in Witness to the Holocaust, edited by M. Berenbaum
- The Warsaw Ghetto uprising, in Witness to the Holocaust, edited by M. Berenbaum
- The personality of the perpetrator in Mass Hate, by N. Kressel
Life on the Path to Genocide
Resistance and Rescue
- Life in death, in The Survivor, by T. Des Pres
- Nightmare and waking, in The Survivor, by T. Des Pres
- Choiceless choices, in Witness to the Holocaust, edited by M. Berenbaum
- How much home does a person need, in At the Mind's Limit, by J. Amery (Optional)
- Resentments, in At the Mind's Limit, by J. Amery (Optional)
- Us and them, in The Survivor, by T. Des Pres (Optional)
- Radical nakedness, in The Survivor, by T. Des Pres (Optional)
- Forms of Jewish resistance, by Y. Bauer in The Holocaust, edited by D. Niewyk
- Victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and rescuers in the face of genocide and its aftermath, by E. Fogelman in Genocide, War, and Human Survival, edited by C. Strozier & M. Flynn.
- In pursuit of Sugihara: The banality of good, by H. Levine in Genocide, War, and Human Survival, edited by C. Strozier & M. Flynn.
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