ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Minority Studies / Department of Social Psychology

2008/2009 Academic year

Fall Semester

Theories of Antisemitism S233/lc1


György Csepeli


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 documentary 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 end of the course a paper should be submitted double 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 should consult 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


September 5. Orientation

September 12. Ethnocentrism

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

September 19. 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.

September 26. Pagan Responses to Jewish Presence

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

October 3. 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.

October 10. 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

October 17. Midterm exam

October 24. 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.

October 27-31. Fall break

November 7. Blood libel

Film: Judit Elek: Rafters

November 14. The culture of paradox

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

November 21. Structure and Content of the Antisemitic Mind

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

November 28. Antisemitism in Hungary

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

Film: Péter Forgács: Whirl

December 5. The road to the Holocaust

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

December 12. Coping with the Past

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