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COURSE NAME: "Doing History"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Luca De Caprariis
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 8:20-9:40 AM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 103 or EN 105 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS: MW: 10:00-11:00; TTh 3:00-4:15

This course introduces students to the practice of history, that is, how professional historians investigate, reconstruct, and interpret the past. Students will examine a variety of methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives that historians have employed in studying a particular historical problem (the topic varies from semester to semester). Students will also engage directly in practicing history by analyzing a variety of primary and secondary sources and carrying out a significant research project related to the topic of the semester.
The course will examine the evolution of National Socialist racial policies from their intellectual origins to the mass extermination of European Jews during World War II.
This course will help you to build a strong knowledge of the intellectual development of modern racialism in European culture from the Enlightenment to the emergence of Volkish thinking, of  the evolution of National Socialist anti-Semitism, from its origins to the seizure of power and the building of the Nazi state, and of the extermination of European Jews during the Second World War. Special attention will be also given to the different interpretations of Nazi extermination policies, and to the attempt to deny or distort the Holocaust.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Nazi Germany and the Jews:. The years of prosecution 1933-1939Saul FriedlanderWeidenfeld and Nicolson978-0753801420  
Nazi Germany and the Jews. The Years of Extermination. 1939-1945Saul FreidlanderWeidenfeld and Nicolson978-0753824450  
Ordinary Men - revised editionChristopher BrowningHarper Collins978-0062303028 Revised 2020 edition

Research Paper (including draft, revision, and presentation, 12 pages)For the research paper (c. 15 pages), you will explore a topic appropriate for the course chosen in consultation with me. Your paper should build on both primary and secondary sources, and in preparing it, I will guide you through the processes of preparing a first draft and revising that draft to produce a stronger final paper. You also will present this paper to the rest of the class for discussion. For these discussions, each of you will also review at least one of your colleagues’ papers, providing both a written review (for the author and for me) and an oral commentary during the discussion of her/his paper in class. The grade on this assignment will be determined by the strength of your analysis and research, the persuasiveness of your argument (including quality of writing), and the originality of your thought.35%
Interpretation of National socialist extermination policiesYou one write seven-page essay assessing the strength and weaknesses of the "intentionalist" and "structuralist" interpretation of the Holocaust30%
Final ExaminationYou will select and analyze one or several primary sources discussed during the course, discussing its/their significance to understand Nazi racial policies.35%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory. Students should keep their mobile phones turned off during lecture. You may use your laptop to take notes, but you are not allowed to surf the web during class. Should you fail to follow these rules I will ban laptops from classroom altogether

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. 
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.




22 Introduction. The foundation of Modern Racism.  The Enlightenment. From Science to Art: the emergence of Stereotypes.

24 The Science and the Mystery of Race

29 Towards the final solution? Volkish ideology and Hitler: the Vienna years.


1  The Mein Kampf , Mein Kampf, chapter 11

6  The Rise to Power. Friedlander I: 73-112.

8  After the Seizure of Power, Friedlander I: 9-72.

9  Nazi Anti-Semitic legislation  Friedlander I: 113-173.

12  Radicalization Friedlander I: 177-240.

14 International tension, the Aryanization of German economy, emigration, Friedlander I:  241-333.

20  War, Terror and Ghettoization, Friedlander II: 3-128.

22  War, Terror and Ghettoization, Friedlander II: 129-194.

27 The attack on the Soviet Union: the beginning of Mass Extermination Friedlander II: 197-328

29 Planned mass murder: 329-395


3 The Historiographical debate: intention vs structure I, Kershaw

5  Paper Presentation and discussion

10  Paper Presentation and discussion

12 Paper Presentation and discussion

13 Paper Presentation and discussion

17 Paper Presentation and discussion

19 Paper Presentation and discussion

24 The Historiographical debate: Intention vs Structure II, Kershaw

26   Mass Murder, Friedlander II, 399-538


Collaboration and Mass extermination in Western and Eastern Europe, Friedlander 2, 539-600 

The Italians and the Holocaust

10  The memory of the Holocaust