Holocaust Lecture Series & The SSU Academic Program
Since its inception, the Holocaust Lecture Series has attracted distinguished speakers from throughout the world, representing disciplines that range from History to Philosophy to Biology to Political Science as well as many others. The Director of the Center has coordinated the lectures, which have been offered for academic credit since the 1983-84 academic year. Originally offered under various departmental headings in the Schools of Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities,. In the Fall 2002, the Holocaust Lecture Series and the position of the Center Director of the Center became an integral part of the Department of Sociology. The Lecture Series is a well sought after and important course in the General Education program. The course regularly enrolls over 100 students each Spring semester.
A different theme is selected for each year’s Holocaust Lecture Series in order to encourage a variety of perspective and interpretations. To celebrate the 20th annual series, the Spring 2003 theme was “Witnessing, Resisting and Preventing Genocide.” The two most eminent Holocaust scholars participated in the Series. Both lectures received widespread publicity in the local and regional press.
To fulfill the education component associated with the Lecture Series, SSU students enroll in a three-unit upper division course, Sociology 305: Perspectives on the Holocaust and Genocide. Course requirements include attendance at all the lectures and once weekly discussion sessions with faculty. Documentary films, videos, selected readings and texts supplement student learning. The Holocaust Lectures are videotaped and copies are sent to the Schulz Information Center Media Center for student, faculty and community access.
The Holocaust Lectures have also been strengthened by the participation of Holocaust survivors, liberators and rescuers as well as the contributions of active researchers in the field. Indeed, perhaps the most powerful aspect of these lectures is the inclusion of personal eyewitness accounts of Holocaust survivors and more recently survivors of the Rwandan, Cambodian, and Bosnian genocides. The speakers, students and the general audience are challenged to face the difficult subject of human destructiveness and to reflect on the multiple and interdependent causes of genocide. Students are encouraged to examine the issues of individual accountability and to formulate ideas about the prevention of genocide in the world. Lecture Series faculty regularly receive comments from students about how the information taken from the Series will help them live more ethical and meaningful lives.