OSUN Cultures of Hate and Oppression. Connecting the Conversations about Antisemitism, Holocaust, Gender, Colonialism

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Code: 
Course Description: 

This collaborative OSUN network course addresses topics that are of urgent global importance in our era of continuing discrimination, forced migration, socially sanctioned violence – and war. It promotes new teaching and thinking about the relationships among four distinct, but overlapping, historical, cultural, and political phenomena: antisemitism, the Holocaust, colonialism, and gender. Each of these terms becomes a lens through which to examine exclusion, prejudice, discrimination, race, and hate in their historical and contemporary manifestations. Each of these questions is widely discussed in its own setting, with antisemitism and the Holocaust studied separately from forms of racism rooted in colonial legacies. The aim of this course is to reframe such vital discussions that at present take place in parallel, and sometimes even in an antagonistic manner. The collaborating institutions will explore how we may use teaching, student engagement, and the nurturing of informed civic responsibility to clarify and work through these pressing intellectual tensions. Working collaboratively and dealing with the past and the present, faculty, and students will explore how we can comprehend and clarify intellectual conflicts which have real-world implications in diverse national and regional contexts.  Students have an exciting opportunity for doing group work in the Holocaust and Genocide Centre in Johannesburg, thus developing their own ideas for virtual exhibitions and creative educational interventions.

Learning Outcomes: 

The course will promote an understanding of the similarities and differences among various manifestations of hate, prejudice, and discrimination. Students will explore the relationships between forms of othering created within Europe (e.g. antisemitism) and those forged through British and/or European colonialism, together with its enduring after-effects. This online collaboration will bring many benefits, including learning from your peers. You should use your time productively to refine your ideas about the course content.

At the end of the course, students

  • should be able to identify and differentiate various types of antisemitism; understand how antisemitism works (and changes) as an ideology; how historical and socio-economic factors may or may not influence it; and how antisemitism fits within (but is also different from other members of) the family of bigotries and hatreds
  • will understand some of the major changes in the way the Holocaust and genocides have been mediated, narrated, and studied in past decades, developing a critical grasp of how wars and genocides are also gendered experiences
  • will demonstrate an understanding of how feminist critique contributes to memory studies and war/genocide studies
  • will understand, through selected instances, how racism, economic exploitation, cultural or religious prejudice, gender discrimination and genocide have been enacted in colonial contexts 
  • will understand how antisemitism and colonialism, as well as memories of the Holocaust and of other genocides, interact in historical and contemporary contexts
  • will be able to conduct basic archival research and plan museum exhibitions
  • will understand that implementing change depends upon engaging with histories of autocracy, racism, illiberalism and attempts to undermine democracy