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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SOC3046: The Holocaust and Society

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.

Module Aims

This is an interdisciplinary course, and not as such a history of the Holocaust. It combines historical and social scientific inquiry with philosophical reflection on the nature and significance of the Holocaust and (possibly) kindred events, processes and institutions. Reflecting its interdisciplinary ethos, the module is delivered simultaneously to social science students and philosophy students taking PHL3046 - because historical and social scientific explanation and understanding of the Holocaust and kindred phenomena inherently raises questions of a philosophical nature. In this module you will therefore draw on theories, methodologies and concepts from sociology, social psychology, historical explanation and moral philosophy. Issues to be explored include: questions on what kind of event the Holocaust was, what kind of knowledge and understanding it affords, and its relationship to other events and practices of a putatively similar kind; different approaches to explaining the causes, conditions and essential features of the Holocaust; the nature of evil and the moral character of perpetrators and other participants; the relationship between the Holocaust and modernity; reflection on human nature, civilisation, social organisation and social progress; questions on perpetrator motivation and action, moral responsibility and blame.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Think social scientifically about the nature, origins and causes of the Holocaust.
2. Reflect critically on the significance and import of the Holocaust for wider conceptions of the social organisation and ethical life of modern societies.
3. Examine critically and assess some of the leading philosophical, social scientific and interpretative attempts to account for socially organised evil- and wrong-doing in modern societies.
Discipline-Specific Skills4. Apply and evaluate a range of social scientific and historical explanations and theories of the Holocaust and to identify and reflect on the puzzling and disturbing issues that they generate
5. Reflect on the core social scientific and historical disciplines as explanatory and interpretive endeavours and assess their success and limitations in making sense of the Holocaust and other kindred events, processes and institutions
Personal and Key Skills6. Reflect on, and examine critically, taken-for-granted moral and cultural beliefs and values
7. Analyse and communicate, clearly and directly, a range of social scientific, theoretical, explanatory, epistemological, ontological, and normative issues arising from study of the Holocaust and other kindred events, processes and institutions
8. Work independently, within a limited time frame, and without access to external sources, to complete a specified task.