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Annual Lecture Series

The cornerstone of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at SSU is the lecture series. Now in its 41st year, the Holocaust and Genocide Lecture Series has brought outstanding speakers from around the world to SSU students and the broader community. This distinguished lecture series has received many accolades and is recognized in the community of genocide studies as a unique and essential program. The lecture series’ companion course, Perspectives on Holocaust & Genocide, is housed in the Departments of Political Science and History (POLS 307 / HIST 307). Since 2023, Professor Stephen V. Bittner has been the Academic Coordinator for the series. The lecture series is a critical component of SSU’s General Education program (upper-division Area D). The course typically enrolls about 100 students each spring. Each year’s lecture series is oriented around a distinct theme to encourage diverse perspectives, and to attract new speakers and topics. The 41st annual series presents the theme, “Genocide Past, Present, and Future?” Our lectures consistently attract the attention of local and national media.

SSU students may enroll in the spring in POLS 307 / HIST 307. Course requirements include attendance at all lectures and weekly discussion sections guided by faculty. Discussion section lectures and presentations, along with documentary films, and selected readings enhance student learning. Our nearly 40-year collection of recorded lectures, which is available on YouTube, is an invaluable source of testimony and insight about the Holocaust and many other genocides.

The lecture series has brought Holocaust and genocide survivors, liberators and rescuers, and leading scholars in the field to SSU. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the series is the personal eyewitness accounts of Holocaust survivors, as well as survivors of the Rwandan, Cambodian, and Bosnian genocides. Our audience is challenged to face the difficult reality of humankind’s brutality 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 them can do to prevent genocide. Every semester students report that the lecture series has moved them to evaluate their own moral and ethical responsibility.

2024 lecture series