Holocaust Lecture Series & The SSU Academic Program

Since its inception, the Holocaust & Genocide Lecture Series has attracted  highly respected speakers from around the world, representing disciplines that range from History to Philosophy to Biology to Political Science, along with many others. This distinguished series has been offered for academic credit since the 1983-84 academic year. The course is currently housed in the Department of Political Science.  Professor Diane L. Parness, Ph. D., is the Academic Coordinator of the series.

The Lecture Series is a popular and important component of SSU’s General Education program. The course regularly enrolls over 100 students each spring semester.
A different theme is selected each year in order to encourage a variety of perspectives and interpretations. The 31st annual series will feature the theme “Never Again?” Several prominent national scholars will join us to consider this theme.  Our featured lectures consistently attract the attention of local and national media.

To fulfill the education component associated with the Lecture Series, SSU students enroll in a 4-unit upper division course, Political Science 307: Perspectives on the Holocaust and Genocide. Course requirements include attendance at all lectures and  weekly discussion sessions lead by the course faculty. Documentary films, selected readings and texts enhance student learning. The series’ lectures are videotaped and copies are sent to the Schulz Information Center Media Center for student, faculty and community access. Our thirty year collection of these lectures is an invaluable source of testimony and insight about the Holocaust and various genocides.

The Holocaust and genocide lectures have featured  the participation of Holocaust survivors, liberators and rescuers, as well as the contributions of leading scholars in the field. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this series is the 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 man’s brutality and inhumanity, and to reflect on the common and varied causes of genocide. Students are encouraged to consider issues of individual accountability and to formulate ideas about how genocide might be prevented. Lecture series faculty regularly receive comments from students about how the experience of this series has moved them to evaluate their own moral and ethical responsibility.