UCSB Hist 33D, Fall 2002 [see also Fall 2003 syllabus!]
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Holocaust
HSSB 1174, T-Th 11:00-12:15; Chem 1171, W 5-7:50

Prof. Marcuse
HSSB 4221, 893-2635
Office hours: Tues. 1-2, Wed. 1-2

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Holocaust

(printable pdf version)

Course Description and Goals

This course is designed for undergraduates of all disciplines (natural and social sciences, fine arts, humanities) with no prior college-level coursework in history. It has two goals: to introduce students to the history of one of the most significant events of the 20th century, and to explore some of the different ways scholars, writers and artists attempt to explain it.

I understand the Nazi Holocaust to be the development and systematic implementation of a program to eradicate entire groups of people. This course begins with an investigation of the "historical facts," but quickly moves to questions of causation (why did they happen?). We will examine attempts to answer this question by scholars in various disciplines, comparing, assessing, and combining different perspectives to come up with one of our own.

Your Contribution (course requirements):

  1. Attendance at all classes, including at least 5 of the evening films and guest presentations, and the Oct. 20 field trip. Why take a course if you don't take the time to learn what it teaches? Lectures include slides, videos, discussion and information not available elsewhere. I will call roll to try to learn your names.
  2. Five questions in lieu of a midterm examination. You will write a short paragraph on a simple question about the assigned readings, speakers or films, roughly once every two weeks. These will be announced one lecture in advance.
  3. Access to the internet. Some of the course materials are available only on-line on the course web site. You can get priority access stickers for the microcomputer labs.
  4. A journal with 1-2 entries per week, for a total of 10 entries. Each entry, averaging 400 words, will be based on your thoughts about newspaper or magazine articles that you relate to the course, or about the lectures, course readings or outside events. (For further details, see the blue "Hist 33D Journal" handout.)
  5. A two-hour final examination will have 3 IDs chosen from 5, one source interpretation, and one essay question from a choice of two. A study guide will be distributed in early December.
    An oral final may be an option.
  6. Instead of the final exam essay question, you may opt to do a final project. Topics and form will be chosen in consultation with the professor. Work may be done collaboratively.

Required Readings

  • Reflections: Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor's Tale, vols. I and II (1986, 1991)
  • handout
  • Textbook: Ronnie Landau, The Nazi Holocaust (1994)
  • Reflections: Gerald Markle, Meditations of a Holocaust Traveler (1995)
  • Memoir: Ruth Klüger, Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered (2002)
  • Reader: packet of several photocopied articles, available later in the term


is on a point system. You can accumulate up to 100 points, distributed as follows:
participation: 10%; questions: 20%; journal: 30%; final exam: 40%
(15+10+15); final project 15%.
Late work will be graded down one point per day. Call or e-mail me in advance if you must be absent.

Schedule of Lectures

Week 1

Sept. 26

7:30-9:30pm, IV Theater: Jacob the Liar (1974)

view film, stay for discussion

Week 2

Oct. 1
Oct. 2
Oct. 3

What was the Holocaust? -- Auschwitz
5-6pm: discussion of Maus
Genocide in Australia

Maus, entire (vols. 1 and 2)

Landau chap. 1 (esp. 16-20), pp. 260-263

Week 3

Oct. 8
Oct. 9
Oct. 10

Origins of the Holocaust, I: history
Wed. film: Erwin Leiser, Mein Kampf
(2 hrs.)
Kristallnacht and the turn to genocide

Landau, chaps. 4-5

Landau, chaps. 6-7

Week 4

Oct. 15

Oct. 17

Origins II: individuals (psychology)
Wed. film: Milgram Expts / Wannsee Conf.
Origins III: groups (sociology)

Landau, chap. 8; Markle chap. 2

Markle chap. 3

Week 5

Oct. 20
Oct. 22

Oct. 24

Sunday trip to LA Museum of Tolerance, 8am-4pm
Ideology and information

Science and pseudo-science

Marcuse, LA Museum (on-line); directions
Landau, chap. 9

Markle chap. 4

Week 6

Oct. 29
Oct. 30
Oct. 31

Wed. film: Escape from Sobibor

Kluger pp. 15-60; Landau chaps. 1-2

Kluger pp. 63-131

Week 7

Nov. 5

Nov. 7


Aftermath and impact

Kluger pp. 135-170

Kluger pp.173-202; Landau chap. 10

Week 8

Nov. 12

Nov. 14

Dachau 1933-2003
Wed. film: For the Living (USHMM), 57mins.
Memorials for the Holocaust

Reader: Marcuse

Week 9

Nov. 19
Nov. 20
Nov. 21

Literature (fiction) and the Holocaust
Guest speaker Ruth Kluger (5pm)
Education: The Diary of Anne Frank

Reader: Langer, Wilkomirski
Kluger, Epilog (205-214)
Reader: Rosenfeld

Week 10

Nov. 26
Nov. 28

No class, you’ve put in extra time already!
No class, Thanksgiving break

Week 11

Dec. 3
Dec. 4
Dec. 5

Topic(s) selected by class
Selected film(s)
Selected topics / concluding discussion

to be announced



Dec. 13

Friday, 12noon-2pm: Final Examination

Bring a large blue book

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. I will report offenses to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action.

prepared for web by H. Marcuse, Sept. 2002, formatting updated 3/15/05
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