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.
This topic aims to: