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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SOC3046A: The Holocaust, Genocide and Society

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • What was the Holocaust and what can be learned from studying it?
  •  The concept and practice of genocide
  • Is the Holocaust a unique? Theoretical and conceptual questions
  • Is the Holocaust a unique? Epistemic and political questions
  •  The Dialectic of Enlightenment, civilisation and progress
  • The Modernity thesis: is the Holocaust an essentially modern phenomenon?
  • The nature of evil: Radical or Banal?
  • Social psychology: situationist explanation and the fundamental attributional error
  • The ‘evil of banality’: critical reflection on the modernity and banality theses
  • Explaining direct perpetrators' actions: Browning's situationist explanation
  • Explaining direct perpetrators' actions: Goldhagen's cognitive explanation
  • Assessment of Browning's and Goldhagen's theories: a radical alternative?
  • Structure and agency in the Holocaust: ‘Intentionalist’ versus ‘functionalist’ conceptions
  • Rescue and resistance: supererogation, ordinary goodness and the social conditions of altruism
  • The Bystander effect and its significance in modern society
  • Normalisation of the Holocaust? Comparison & analogy with other genocides and examples of institutionalised wrong- and evil-doing
  • Holocaust  denial
  • Knowledge, ignorance and moral responsibility
  • Collective responsibility/guilt, and problems of redress
  • Judgement and understanding: compatible or incompatible?

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 3322 x 1.5 hour weekly lecture
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 1010 x fortnightly 1 hour smaller group seminars for further exploration of lecture and module themes and issues
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 1.5Revision session
Guided Independent study130Assigned readings associated with each lecture
Guided independent study40Preparation for essay 1
Guided Independent Study40Preparation for essay 2
Guided Independent study45.5Preparation for exam. A variety of activities directed by module leader.

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).