The cornerstone of Holocaust & Genocide studies at SSU is the lecture series. Now in its 39th year, the Holocaust & Genocide Lecture Series has brought outstanding speakers from around the world to the students and community of SSU. This distinguished series has received many accolades and is recognized in the community of genocide studies as a unique and essential program. The course is housed in the Department of Political Science. Since 2014, Professor Diane L. Parness, Ph. D., has been the Academic Director of the series. The lecture series is a critical 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 consistently seek new speakers and topics for the series. The 38th annual series focused on “Overcoming Adversity,” a particularly appropriate theme for our current political climate. Our lectures consistently attract the attention of local and national media.
SSU students may enroll in an upper division course, Political Science 307: Perspectives on the Holocaust and Genocide. Course requirements include attendance at all lectures and weekly discussion sections guided 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. Our audience is challenged to face the difficult reality of man’s brutality and inhumanity, and to reflect on the common and varied causes of genocide. We also bear witness to the astounding human capacity for resilience. Students are encouraged to consider issues of individual accountability and what each of us can do to prevent genocide. Every semester students tell our faculty how the experience of this series has moved them to evaluate their own moral and ethical responsibility.