Theorizing the Holocaust

Term: Spring 2011

Subject Code: GPHI

Course Number: 6643

The contested relation between fact and theory has been a constant though often unacknowledged presence in accounts of the Holocaust. Setting out from the tension between chronicle and narrative specifically in the 1980's 'intentionalist-functionalist'; debate on the genealogy of the Holocaust, the course will compare alternate epistemological, ethical, political, and aesthetic theories on key issues in the Holocaust: the originative and causal patterns together with features of individual and group responsibility; the events (alleged) emblematic or distinctive features (the 'uniqueness' question); genocide in concept and implementation; the social and cultural 'afterlife' (the 'post-Holocaust') in legal, philosophical, and artistic expression; the broad philosophical issue of the relation to philosophical reflection, historically and conceptually, of specific historical event like the Holocaust. Authors addressed in the discussions will include Theodor Adorno, Agamben, Gotz Aly, Hannah Arendt, Zygmunt Bauman, Jacques Derrida, Saul Friedlander, Jurgen Habermas, Raul Hilberg, Hans Jonas, Victor Klemperer, Dominick LaCapra, Raphael Lemkin, Primo Levi, Carl Schmitt, Gerhard Weinberg, Hayden White. (And Berel Lang).

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