The Holocaust: Historical Contexts
The Holocaust is an epochal event of the 20th century that cannot but provoke fundamental questions about the nature of civilization. To study the Holocaust in historical perspective can help us better grasp the dynamics of racism, discrimination and hatred all the way through to their devastating ramifications, especially when sanctioned by state power in the grip of political extremism. To travel to and to experience places where the Holocaust was carried out can transform our study of one of the darkest periods of modern history into a deeper understanding of what is at stake in unrestrained enmity and intolerance.
Before the Nazis seized power in 1933, Europe had a richly diverse set of Jewish cultures, many of which were dynamic and highly developed, communities drawing from hundreds to more than a thousand years of Jewish life on the European continent. At this time, Polish Jewry, considered the center of the European Jewish world, could count over three million of Europe’s 9.5 million Jews. By war’s end, the Nazi-organized program of extermination, targeting principally Jews but also directed against other groups — Roma, Slavs, homosexuals, communists, resistance fighters, Catholic clergy, and the disabled — left these worlds decimated. The lessons that must be learned are just as urgent in the twenty-first century as they have ever been.
Participants in The Holocaust: Historical Contexts will be afforded a unique opportunity to contemplate a tragic past but also experience the resurgence of Jewish life in Poland, as well as a country that is arguably one of the most successful post-communist countries in Eastern Europe, and which is continuing its evolution through its inclusion in the European Union in 2004.
About the Program
Participants in our program will combine academic study with a carefully designed ten-day study abroad experience, led by a scholar of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies, Professor Curt Dunagan.
Prior to traveling, students will participate in classes dedicated to discussing and analyzing texts on the historical antecedents to the Holocaust, focusing on its causes, development and execution, manifestations, victims, as well as its place in historical memory.
The travel portion of the program will take us to a number of the most notable Holocaust sites on Polish soil, where we will also meet with scholars, historians and key figures in Poland today. There will also be time for excursions to introduce participants to some of Poland’s many cultural treasures and natural beauty, including time to explore the cities of Warsaw and Kraków.
Short orientation sessions each day will prepare participants for the day’s activities.
|June 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18||Classes at UMass Boston:
|June 21||Kraków: Morning Arrival at Kraków-Balice Airport
|June 30||Departure from Kraków-Balice Airport
Academic Courses & Credit
According to their academic career and standing, students may register for either:
- HIST 178 or HIST 478 Special Topics in History: The Holocaust: Historical Contexts 3 credits.
Students who wish to pursue more extensive research on a proposed topic may also register, with instructor permission, for:
- HIST 488 Independent Reading 3 credits (additional tuition applies)
- Graduate credit is possible by permission before registering for the program.
- A non-credit option is possible, on a space-available basis.
Who Can Apply?
This course is open to all University of Massachusetts Boston students. Students from other colleges and universities, educators, and serious laypersons, are also welcome to apply.
Curt Dunagan, PhD, adjunct faculty, Department of History, University of Massachusetts Boston.
Professor Dunagan earned his doctorate at Brandeis University in Modern European Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, specializing in Jewry on the historic Polish lands, interethnic relations, nationalism and the genesis and implications of modern antisemitism in Eastern Europe. Professor Dunagan lived, studied and taught in Poland for 5 years.
Please be advised that international programs are subject to change, slight or major, at any time due to circumstances beyond our control; this includes any and all fees, dates, itinerary, and program activities. We will do our best to inform all applicants of any changes in as timely a manner as possible.