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Holocaust Studies

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Holocaust Studies

MA
  • Option 1 year full time or 2 years part time
  • Year of entry 2021
  • Campus Central London

The course

The Royal Holloway MA in Holocaust Studies is unique; not only are we the only university in the UK to run an MA course solely dedicated to the field of Holocaust Studies but the Royal Holloway Holocaust Research Institute  is the leading academic centre of its kind in Europe. We are internationally recognised for our research, teaching, public advocacy and creative work. This is an ideal MA if you are pursuing an advanced interest in the Holocaust, it will provide you with a further set of skills and a qualification, it also has a highly successful track record as a springboard to doctoral research.

The Research Institute's mission is to promote research into the Holocaust, its origins and aftermath, and to examine the extent to which genocide, war and dictatorship can be understood as defining elements in the history of the twentieth century. It is an international forum bringing together researchers working on different aspects of the Holocaust in a range of disciplines, including history, literary and language studies, film and media studies, philosophy and sociology. 

You have the opportunity to approach the subject from a variety of perspectives with a choice of topics, ranging from the more traditional, historical focus and others which examine the cultural, social, political and religious afterlife of the Holocaust. This degree brings together expert academics from across Royal Holloway, including EnglishModern Languages and History and is taught in central London at the Wiener Library and at the University of London's Senate House.

We offer a wide range of postgraduate scholarships to help with funding your studies. We especially encourage eligible applicants to apply for one of the following:

David Cesarani, Kobler scholarship – £10,000 to cover tuition fees and a contribution towards living costs for Home/EU students with, or expected to achieve, a First Class degree or equivalent.

Willoughby Losner scholarship – tuition fee reduction of £7,700 for Home/EU students with, or expected to achieve, a First Class degree or equivalent

Dinah and Jessica Nichols scholarship – £12,000 scholarship for Home/EU or international students with, or expected to achieve, a First Class degree or equivalent.

Core Modules

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic issues with regard to historical debate about the Holocaust. You will look at the nature of the roles of ideological, structural and other factors in the emergence and implementation of the Holocaust. You will examine the history of the Jews from the emancipation period onwards, considering the emergence of political antisemitism in Germany and Austria, the rise to power of Nazism, the Euthanasia Programme and its relationship with the persecution of the Jews, and Nazi policy vis-à-vis the Jews and other victims, including Afro-Germans, homosexuals, and Soviet prisoners of war. You will evaluate the Holocaust from the point of view of Nazi persecution and the responses of its victims.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theoretical approaches to the Holocaust. You will look at the ways in which historians' positions and use of sources are influenced by their theoretical and methodological assumptions. You will examine the ways in which sociological and anthropological texts, testimony and memoir, film, art, photography, comics, museums and monuments relating to the Holocaust are handled. You will consider the key theoretical explanations for the Holocaust, such as modernity and genocide, the politics of Holocaust memory, and contemporary discussions about memorialisation.

  • You will carry out an extended piece of research. You will be appointed a member of academic staff who will act as your supervisor, providing you with support and guidance. You will produce a written report of between 10,500 and 16,000 words in length.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Optional modules may include:

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how the Holocaust is represented in British and American Literature. You will look at significant translated works, and examine issues such as form, the ethics of representation, the role of testimony, the construction of Jewish identity after the Holocaust, and the relationship between literature and history.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how the destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945 has been represented and responded to across a range of both fictional and non-fictional media. You will look at the specific theoretical debates surrounding how the Holocaust can or should (or should not) be represented in art and popular culture. You will consider the role of mass media in constructing both popular and elite relationships to historical experience, and in documenting history.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the history, impact and memory of forced movement of Jewish victims of the Nazi regime outside of the familiar places of ghettos and camps. You will look at the transnational and translocal history of the Holocaust, beginning in the mid-1920s and concluding in the early 1950s, including the founding of Israel, the establishment of the Displaced Persons Act in the USA, the division of Germany, and the UN refugee convention. You will examine the journeys and experiences of victims of forced movement and their emerging spatial agency in new locations, and also focus on the geopolitical contexts of the locations they moved through and stayed in. You will consider emerging research in Holocaust studies on refugee diasporas, transnationalism, and landscapes of the Holocaust, and analyse literature on postwar Europe, humanitarian relief organizations, and histories of asylum seeking pertinent to Jewish, European and as relevant, refugee diasporas in regional locations of Africa, the Caribbean and South America.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the comparative approaches to the study of genocide. You will examine comparative themes central to modern scholarship, such as modernity, state violence, and gender, and others arising from the phenomenon itself, such as child transfers and the use of memories of past violence to justify genocide in the present. You will consider the complex causes and dynamics of genocide, with case studies analysing colonial genocide in North America and Australia, and the mass killings in Darfur at the beginning of the 21st century.

Assessment is carried out by coursework and a dissertation. 

The dissertation must be between 14,000 - 16,000 words and is mainly written in the third term and the summer (with a deadline in early September). Students are expected to develop a topic together with their supervisor(s) during the Spring Term. Topics can be taken from various areas, such as the history and representation of the Holocaust or its impact on literatures in different countries, public and visual culture, mass media and digital narratives, and film.

On completion of the course, graduates will have advanced knowledge and understanding of:

  • the most important aspects of the history and historiography of the Holocaust
  • significant intellectual trends in cultural though, philosophy, and representation arising from the Holocaust
  • methods and concepts of various disciplines (historical, literary, philosophical and others)

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