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UCSB Hist 133Q, Winter 2008
Readings on the Holocaust
HSSB 4201, Mon. 1-3:50

Prof. Marcuse
HSSB 4221, 893-2635
Office hours: Mon. 11-12, Tue. 2-3pm

Readings on the Holocaust: 2008 SYLLABUS
(pdf print version; Schedule of Topics)

Course Description (back to top)

This course is designed for students who are concurrently enrolled in Hist 133D or have a substantial prior knowledge of the Holocaust or German history. Thus all participants should have taken a course in the UCSB Hist 133 series, or the equivalent in another department or at another school. In the latter case, permission of the instructor is required.

We will read and discuss important works about the Holocaust in order to examine some of the psychological, historical and historiographical, and moral issues it raises. We will also learn and practice some of the skills used in writing history: interpreting primary sources, assessing secondary works, and reporting orally and in writing about our findings.

This is an intensive reading course: We will read 200-350 pages per week. Each week 2 (or 3) students will present their background research on that week's book to the class, while all other students will write short essays or prepare a page of questions. Each student team will prepare an annotated list of resources about one of the weekly books or topics.

Requirements (back to top)

  1. Regular, active participation in class discussion, which counts for 35% (!) of the final grade.
    Grading for each session is on a 5 point scale. You really must participate in class discussion!
    There is also a required lecture on Jan. 28, and a required film and lecture in late February.
  2. There are seven discussion meetings during the quarter. Each student will be part of at least one group that conducts additional background research. During six of the other seven sessions, students will either submit a short paper (three times), or a set of questions (three times).
    1. The three short papers, about 500 words (2 double-spaced, typed pages) in length, about a topic of your choice that strikes you from the reading. Personal reflections are fine, but they must be integrated into a coherent and thoughtful engagement with the book. You should be sure to state a thesis and use specific examples as evidence to back it up. These papers are due on Mondays, by 11am, in the envelope outside my office door. Each is worth 10% of your final grade for a total of 30%.
    2. Submission of three sets of 5-10 questions each, about the weekly readings. Some questions may address specific points that you don't understand; others should aim at broader issues raised by the material, which you would like to discuss in class. These are also due on Mondays, by 11am, in the envelope outside my office. Each question set is worth 5% of the final grade (15% altogether).
  3. An annotated bibliography/linkography of at least a dozen books, articles and websites relevant to the topic of your book. A draft is due the week before the book is discussed, and student teams will present the results of their research to the rest of the seminar. These annotated lists of sources may be published on the course web site. (10% of final grade)
  4. An oral final examination. Groups of 2-3 students will meet with the professor for 20-30 minutes each to discuss what they have learned from the course readings.
    (There is no midterm examination.)

Components of Grade: (back to top)
discussion: 7x5%=35%; papers: 3x10%=30%; questions: 3x5%=15%; annotated sources: 10%; final: 10%.

Required Books
(in the order we will read them; additional purchase details on the course web site)

  1. Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor's Tale, vols. 1 & 2 (Pantheon, 1986, 1991)
  2. Alison Owings, Frauen: German Women Recall the Third Reich (Rutgers, 1993), $24
  3. Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil (Random House, 1998)
  4. Thomas Blatt, From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival (Northwestern, 1997)
  5. Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning (Beacon, [1959], 2006)
  6. Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman, Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened… (UC Press, 2000)

Hist 133Q, Winter 2008
Schedule of Topics

(back to top)

Jan. 7


Research team:

Jan. 14

Maus: A Survivor's Tale, vols. I & II
by Art Spiegelman (1986, 1991), 159+136 pages


Jan 21

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday


Jan. 28

Frauen by Alison Owings (1993), 30+476 pages
read at least to p. 196, plus von Moltke, Rauhut & Frankenfeld
5:30pm, 524 Chapala St.: Presentation by Alison Owings


Feb. 4

Frauen by Alison Owings (1993)
entire book, possibly class visit by an oral historian


Feb. 11

Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil
by Mark Rosenbaum (1998), 395 pages


Feb. 18

President's Day Holiday


Feb. 25

From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival
by Thomas Blatt (1997), 242 pages
also evening film Escape from Sobibor (to be scheduled)
Also: classroom visit Tue or Thu, 12:30-2pm


Mar. 3

Man's Search for Meaning
by Viktor Frankl (1959, 2006 ed.), 165 pages


Mar. 10

Denying the Holocaust: Who says the Holocaust never happened
by Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman (2000), 259 pages


Mar. 20

Thursday (or sooner), oral final examinations,in my office,
HSSB 4221

(back to top)

Plagiarism presenting someone else's work as your own, or deliberately failing to credit or attribute the work of others on whom you draw (including materials found on the web)—is a serious academic offense, punishable by dismissal from the university. It hurts the one who commits it most of all, by cheating them out of an education. Offenses will be reported to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action. (back to top)

prepared for web by H. Marcuse, Jan. 7, 2008, updated:
back to top, to UCSB Hist 133q homepage