Holocaust Lecture Series & The SSU Academic Program

Since its inception, the Holocaust & Genocide Lecture Series has featured outstanding speakers from around the world, representing perspectives that range from Political Science to History to Psychology to Philosophy and others. This distinguished series has been offered for academic credit since the 1983-84 academic year. The course is housed in the Department of Political Science. Professor Diane L. Parness, Ph. D., is the Academic Coordinator of the series. The lecture series is an important component of SSU’s General Education program. The course enrolls over 100 students each spring semester. We adopt a different theme each year to encourage diverse perspectives and interpretations. The 37th annual series will accentuate “Combating Denial.” This theme is tragically appropriate for the current political climate. Our lectures consistently attract the attention of local and national media.

SSU students may 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. Discussion section lectures and presentations, along with documentary films, selected readings and texts enhance student learning. Our thirty year collection of taped lectures is an invaluable source of testimony and insight about the Holocaust and many genocides.

Our series has brought Holocaust and genocide survivors, liberators and rescuers, as well as leading scholars in the field to SSU. 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 reality 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 what can be done to prevent genocide. Students frequently tell our faculty how the experience of this series has moved them to evaluate their own moral and ethical responsibility.