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JWST 240- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 35 pages long!)


Department
Jewish Studies
Course Code
JWST 240
Professor
Dan Heller
Study Guide
Midterm

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McGill
JWST 240
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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01/10--The Holocaust: History and Memory
People of all stripes took part in holocaust, as victim, perpetrator, etc.
Holocaust education is common in N amer, but the narrative is simplified
Ordinary people were the backbone of the nazi system
Many jews were not killed in supposedly depersonalized gas chambers
Images of victims themselves r v dehumanizing, show ppl only @ end of life
H is single most researched topic in the humanities
Question of what makes us human
Why did the holocaust happen?
Did it lynch on hitler or broader environment? What was turning pt when nazis
decided to exterminate jews?
Who was involved and in what ways? Motives? How did large #s of “ordinary” and other
ppl bcome murders of large numbers of ppl?
Non-german collaborators and germans alike
How did the targets of attacks respond, and what strategies did they develop in their
quest to survive?
Some historians obscure jewish resistance efforts
What, if anything, makes the H unique?
Nazi annihilation of jews vs treatment of other minorities and “undesirables”
Scope and brutality
What, if anything, can we learn from the H? What is its legacy for those who study for it?
What accounts for v diff ways in which diff ppl/groups see H?
Jews, europe and modernity
Jewish life in medieval europe
Jewish, nationalism, and the nation-state
Jews could hav seemingly contradictory relationships w european homes
Could like ex: polish culture and hate govt
Medieval europe
Not uncommon for jews to act as surrogates for relig or secular authorities
Provided services/goods to locals in exchange for protection
Diff btwn jews/goyim
○ Language
○ Occupation
Primarily moneylenders
○ Dress
○ Calendar
Jews+protecting lords=vertical alliance
Jews viewed as symbol of royal authority, oft retaliated against
Crusades, reconquista put jews in vulnerable position
Rulers fomented violence in hope that jews would convert
Ex: using blood libel
Result is massive expulsion of jews
Many to ott emp, but many others to polish lithuanian commonwealth
PLC rulers welcomed jews for econ reasons
Again V alliances
At the time christian ideologies blamed jews for death of jesus
Anti-jewish violence oft has specific econ motives--relig is only excuse
Creation of ghettos could sometimes actually provide safety
Civic vs. ethnic nationalism
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01/17--Dark Continent
What, if anything, is uniquely german abt beliefs/emotions/behaviors that brought
nazisim to power?
Historians previously argued that there was a unique german path to holocaust
Howev more recently has been argued that all of europe had long
murdered/excluded minorities/colonial subjects on both individ/state levels
Nazi ideas abt community/difference come from long EUROPEAN history
Around 1900, jews increasingly granted new rights/emancipated
In conjunction w rise of civic natlism/nation state
state/homeland over other individ/group interests
Collective identity thru cult background/common rituals
Many jews responded to emancipation by shedding “jewish” characteristics,
thinking of themselves as german, french etc
Jews enjoy greater degree of commercial success
Transition from small-trade to industry, banking etc. also doctors, lawyers,
journalists
Yet most jews lived in the east--Aust-Hung emp, Russia
● AHE
Most jews lived in small towns in prov of galicia
Deeply impoverished, more traditional
Tho there were exceptions/groups that pursued acculturation
● Antisemitism
Rise of antisemitism/an antisemitism beyond just anti-jewish relig
New antisemitism--An ideology whose followers envision jews as the culprits
behind everything wrong w modernity
Social function of antisemitism
Social protest
Against modernity
Cultural code
Whether or not someone is an antisemite is a litmus test, determine other
beliefs
Way to talk about other issues (econ, poli, cult etc)
○ Malleable
Accusations against jews change based on location/accuser’s goals
What contributed to rise of antisemitism?
Increasing frustration w bourgeois liberalism
Political liberalism: emancipation, freedom of press, separation of
church/state, const govt
Econ lib: collapse of prev govt econ barriers
Commerce as a tool for self-emancipation/econ mobility
Rise of aggressive ethnic natlism
Nationhood is primordial, existing from beginning of time
“Organic” lang and customs--nation is either in your blood or not, can’t b
learned
Homeland--your nation has a right to one
Racial superiority
The nation is under attack
The rise of mass politics/new technologies
Growth of the electorate
FR 1792, DE 1871, GB 1884, RU 1905, AHE 1907 (vote given to
all or select groups of men)
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