Ethnic and Minority Studies Program

ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences

2007/2008 Academic year

Fall Semester

The Social Psychology of Antisemitism

Time: Friday, 12.00-14.00

Place: Kecskeméti u. 10-12, Room 115

Instructor: György Csepeli

TA: Gerg§ Prazsák

Aim of the course

Antsemitism is one of the most complicated set of problems in human socety. The basic aim of this course is to provide students with insights into this complex web of issues analysing the psychological, sociological, economic, political and last but not least historical facets separately. Special emphasis will be given to Central Europe which is the place where the unprecedented events of Holocaust were originated. Fiction and dociumentary films as sources will be demonstrated.


Midterm exam and finals will be completed duriong the course. Students need to attend the lectures with requirement of active participation. At the and of the course a paper shoild be submitted douvble spaced not extending 15 pages but not less than 10 pages. The title and the outline of the paper will to be approved by the instructor in advance.


Students shouls conszult with websites found as a result of Google search (wikipedia, antisemitism research resources, report on global antisemitism, etc.) A coursepack will be available in the library.

Suggested Readings

Browning, C.R. Ordinary men. Reserve police battalion 101 and the final solution in Poland. HarperPerennial.

Dimont, M.I. Jews, God and History. Chicago: Signer Book.

Furet, F. (ed.) Unannswered questions. Nazi Germany and the genocide of the jews. New York: Schocken Books.

Gruen, E.S. 2002. Diaspora. Jews and Greeks and omans. Cambridge:Harvard University Press

Lifton, R.J. , Markusen, E. 1988. The Genocidal Mentality. Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat. New York:Basic Books.

Novick, P.1999. The Holocaust in American Life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

Nicholls, W. 1993. Christian Antisemitism. London: Jason Aronson.

Roth, J.K., Berenbaum, M. (eds.) 1989. Holcaust. Religious and phislosphical implications. New York:Paragon House


1. Orientation

2. Ethnocentrism

The nature of human groups. Basic processes of group formation. Relations between large groups. Clashing group realities. Majorities and minorities. 

3. Competing Narratives of Jewish Historiography

Four thousand years of history. The Jewish innovation (divine invisibility, writing, sin). Periods of Jewish history. Miracle vs. Reality. Existence in diaspora. Syanogoue and family.

4. Pagan Responses to Jewish Presence

Decline of Greek antiquity and the rise of Roman Empire. Ethnoicentric misunderstanding. List of accusations against Jews. Apion and Tacit.

5. Christian anti-Judaism

Novelty of anti-Jewish perception: the metaphysical dimension.

Psychological techniques of widening the divide between Jews and Christians. The role of medieval social structure in the formation of religious anti-Jewish prejudice.

6. Emergence of Modern Political Antisemitism

Transition from feudalism to capitialism. Rationalization, secularaizsation and indidividulization. Resistance to social entropy. Modernization niches and Jewish skills. Emancipation and ressentiment.

Fim: Ewige Jude

7. Midterm exam.

8. The stock of knowledge of Modern Antisemitism

History of the term „Antisemitism”. Ideology and Weltanschauung. Nation state by default. Racism. The „Jewish question.”. Perverse utopia.

Oct. 29-Nov.2. : Fall break

9. Blood libel

Film: Judit Elek: Rafters

10. The culture of paradox

The position of stranger. The Jewish intellectual. Traps of assimilation. Conflicting intregoup expeiences.

11. Structure and Content of the Antisemitic Mind

Anxiety stemming from modernizastion. Projection. Misattribution, scapegoating. Authoritarianism.

12. Antisemitism in Hungary

The offer of assimilation: achievements and illusions. Defeat in World War I. Institutionalization of antisemitism.

Film: Péter Forgács: Whirl

13. The road to the Holocaust

The trauma of moernity. Categorization, classification, exclusion, depersonalization, gheottoization, transportation, selection, annihilation. Perpetratzors, victims, spectators.

14. Coping with the Past

Historikerstreit in Germany. Repression and recreation of memory. The problem of naming. Antimistism without Jews. Israel and the new antisemitism.