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In the Classroom

The Kraft-Hiatt fund has supported faculty in the development and enhancement of several courses, including:

Maymester: History, Memory, and the Holocaust
Daniel Bitran, Professor of Psychology, and Thomas Doughton, Senior Lecturer, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies

Offered in 2014, 2016, and planned for 2018
This course takes students to various sites in Central Europe, allowing them to undertake an in-depth and close-up study of how the Holocaust is memorialized. We visit sites in Lithuania (Vilnius and Kaunas), in Poland (Warsaw, Lodz, and Krakow), in Czechia (Prague), and in Germany (Berlin), including the streets of their former ghettos and Jewish heritage museums, sites surrounding these major cities, including labor camps and death camps. We use readings, the photographic record, and other historical documents to deepen our understanding of the Holocaust and of the pre-war Jewish culture that was nearly exterminated. We strive to get beyond “numbers,” connecting with individuals who made up a people who were subjugated, enslaved, and eventually killed.

RELS 149: Judaism in the Time of Jesus
Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor of Judaic Studies

Offered in alternate years
Judaism as we know it took shape in the first six centuries C.E., in roughly the same period that saw the emergence of Christianity. This course describes and interprets early Judaism against its historical backdrop, evaluating the theological beliefs and ritual practices Jews developed and espoused. The main focus is Judaism’s central theological conceptions, concerning, e.g., life-after-death, the messiah, divine providence, revelation. The larger goal is to comprehend how religious ideologies respond to and make sense of the world in which the adherents of the religion live.

RELS 327: Seminar — The Holocaust: Confronting Evil
Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor of Judaic Studies

Offered annually
This seminar seeks to interpret an event that defies representation and lacks discernible logic or meaning. By evaluating how others have depicted, attempted to create meaningful narratives about, and drawn conclusions from the Holocaust, we hope ourselves to reach some understanding of this event, of its significance for modern society, and of its potential for helping us to recognize our own responsibilities in a world in which ultimate evil is possible.

PSYC 314: Seminar — Science, Medicine, and the Holocaust
Daniel Bitran, Professor of Psychology
Offered once per academic year (typically fall semester)
This seminar is intended to examine the influence of sociopolitical agendas in the conduct of scientific research and health professions. Included in this broad aim is the study of important biomedical ethics as well as issues surrounding the use of humans in experimentation. Science is too often assumed to be an objective discipline in the search of discovery and truths about natural phenomena; that science is unfettered by the interests and constraints of the political, social, and cultural milieu; that scientific discovery is driven solely by hypotheses generated by the scientific method; that medical and psychiatric practice are informed and affected only by the interests of the patients. The study of the role of scientists and physicians in the conduct of the systematic killing of ‘useless eaters’ during the period of the Holocaust is most informative in debunking this na├»ve perspective.

CIS 392: Seminar — The Holocaust
Thomas Doughton, Senior Lecturer, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies

Offered in the spring semester
This seminar seeks to contribute to an understanding of Nazi Germany's systematic attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe between 1941 and 1945. The course stresses the historical study of the Holocaust: the course of events, and their origin and context. The geographical focus is on three regions of Europe: Germany, where the impetus for the extermination campaign was generated and the fateful decisions were made; Eastern Europe, where over 90 percent of the victims lived and where most of the killings took place; and, Western Europe from where hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to killing centers in the East.