5 x 2-hour lectures weekly
4 x 2-hour tutorials weekly
1 x 2-hour field trip weekly
4.5 units of Second Level HIST topics
Topic description

Even decades after it took place, the Holocaust remains one of the most controversial events in the 20th century. This topic adopts a multi-disciplinary approach in attempting to come to terms with it. The focus will be primarily on the origins, the practice and the consequences of the persecution of Europe's Jews during the Second World War, but the fate of other groups such as gypsies and homosexuals will also be taken into account. In doing this, a number of historiographical controversies will be discussed, including historical revisionism, the differences between structuralist and intentionalist approaches, and questions of uniqueness or comparability. In the second half of the semester issues of representation of the Holocaust will be addressed. Using a wide range of texts, students will examine how the Holocaust has been dealt with across a range of media, from literature and oral history to film and memorials. Finally, students will consider what consequences the Holocaust has had and continues to have for Australia and the contemporary world.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Impart to students a detailed knowledge of the events which constitute what is known as the Holocaust
  • Familiarize students with key definitional, methodological and theoretical issues
  • Develope students' awareness of the events leading to and constituting the Holocaust
  • Discuss critically a wide range of primary and secondary sources, printed and other, dealing with this theme
  • Encourage critical awareness of issues of uniqueness of comparability
  • Impart an advanced knowledge of Holocaust historiography
  • Develop existing skills in scholarly writing, research and oral presentation to an advanced level
  • Foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation that encourages students to both learn through collaborationand to become independent and critical thinkers
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of events and circumstances leading to and constituting the Holocaust
  2. Identify and discuss the key historiographical debates and issues relating to the Holocaust
  3. Show an advanced critical awareness of definitional and methodological issues relating to Holocaust history
  4. Demonstrate research skills at an appropriately advanced level
  5. Present in both oral and written form the results of their thinking and research to an appropriately advanced scholarly level