School: Social Sciences
Academic Unit: Social Anthropology and History
Level of studies: Postgraduate
Course code: CHC-5 Semester: 1st
Course Title: Ruptures in macro- and microhistory: War, Persecution, and Genocide in the European Past
Independent teaching activities Weekly teaching hours Credits
3 10
Course type: Special background
Prerequisite courses: None
Language of instruction and examinations: Greek
Is the course offered to erasmus students: Νο
Course website (Url):


    Learning outcomes: Students will be able to understand the historicity of the course’s major topics and to problematize the related concepts in historical research. Concepts such as crisis, transition, and otherness will be understood in their social and cultural specificity while the knowledge about the values and practices of past European societies will be broadened. Students are expected to understand “racial” ideology as a product of modernity and to acknowledge “genocide” as a legal, political and historiographical notion. The course will familiarize students with historiography, methodology and interpretive traditions. Students will be able to recognize the complexity of historical knowledge and the ways in which the present conditions historical research. Finally students will be able to conduct bibliographical research and develop writing skills.

    General Competences: 
    Search for, analysis and synthesis of data and information.
    Working independently.
    Respect for difference and multiculturalism.
    Showing social, professional and ethical responsibility and sensitivity to gender issues, ethnicity and religious beliefs.
    Criticism and self-criticism.
    Production of free, creative and inductive thinking.

    (3) SYLLABUS

    The course examines diverse forms of conflict and violence that European societies experienced between the 16th and 20th centuries. We approach conflict as reflecting crisis and transition and we adopt conflict as an analytical tool to enquiry into continuities and changes that shaped the European past. Through a longue-durée perspective the course examines conceptual and cultural transformations, such as the late-medieval doctrine of just war and its recent revival understood in terms of establishing democracy and ending tyranny in non-Western societies, or the discourse on the clash of civilizations, which has been used to essentialise hierarchies on a global level. Premodern messianism strongly conditions modernity and undermines triumphant western master narratives which seek to become universal paradigms. At the same time war stands as a metaphor both for the messianic struggle which aims at the future and for the civilizing mission that European elites have undertaken while seeking to secure and exercise their global cultural hegemony. The course is made up of two parts.
    The first part focuses on early modernity (16th-18th centuries) and particularly the religious reform movements which marked a period of gradual but profound social and cultural transitions, often understood as a process of social discipline and confessionalization. War between states, civil wars, social unrest and the persecution of religious opponents became endemic across Europe. At the same time the European overseas expansion which resulted in the mass destruction of local societies and the establishment of colonial regimes reconfigured ideas about conflict and domination as Christian universalism intersected with the discourse on civilization vs. barbarism and the emerging “racial” taxonomies.
    The second part examines the Second World War and the Shoah. It seeks to historicize the cultural milieu which through the conceptualization of politics as a “racial struggle” paved the way for and legitimized the destruction of European Jewry. The Holocaust is placed within a genealogy of genocidal practices during modernity along with the history of racism, imperialism, colonization and nation-building. At the same time the course enquires into the relation between the term “genocide” with the historiographical crisis of the 20th century (Marc Nichanian) and explores the following questions: Was fascism alien to European thought of the time? How is genocide related to the imperial, civilizing projects of modernity? Can the study of biological racialism shed light on the fissures of European thinking about “race”? How can we understand the Shoah as a unique and extreme event of modernity and how its memory is being constructed? What were the stakes of the “historiographical debate” on Nazism and in which ways are they related with the politics of the present and the pursuits of the future?

    1. Introduction to the basic concepts of the course
    8. The concept of genocide: the history of the concept and the problematizations concerning its use
    9. The roots of Nazism in European thought
    10. Fascism and Nazism: ideology and political cult
    11. Testimony and the capabilities of its use for the study of the past
    12. Oral history’s role in the creation of sources that go against the grain of genocidal will
    13. The historiographical debate on Nazism


    Delivery: Face-to face
    Use of information and communications technology : Use of ICT in teaching and communication with students. Familiarization of students with the use of databases that contain oral sources.
    Teaching methods:  Activity Semester workload
    Lectures 39
    Personal study 50
    Weekly presentations 60
    Essay writing 101
    Course total: 250
    Student performance evaluation: Language of evaluation: Greek.
    Evaluation consists of oral presentations and written work.


    Suggested bibliography:

    Peter Blickle, Religion, Politics and Social Protest. Three Studies on Early Modern Germany, Λονδίνο, 1984.
    Peter Blickle (επιμ), Resistance, Representation and Community, Οξφόρδη, 1997.
    Κώστας Γαγανάκης, Ο πόλεμος των λέξεων. Θρησκευτική διαμάχη και προπαγάνδα στη Γαλλία τον καιρό της νύχτας του Αγίου Βαρθολομαίου, Αθήνα, 2003
    Ole Peter Grell και Bob Scribner, Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation, Cambridge, 1996.
    John Headley και Hans Hillerbrand (επιμ.), Confessionalization in Europe, 1555-1700, Aldershot, 2004.
    Christopher Hill, Puritanism and Revolution. Studies in the Interpretation of the English Revolution of the 17th Century, Λονδίνο, 1990.
    David Nirenberg, Communities of Violence. Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages, Princeton, 1996.
    Tzvetan Todorov, Η κατάκτηση της Αμερικής. Το πρόβλημα του άλλου, Αθήνα, 2004.
    Julius Ruff, Violence in Early Modern Europe 1500-1800, Cambridge 2001.
    John Walter, Understanding Popular Violence in the English Revolution, Cambridge, 1999.
    Scott L. Waugh και Peter D. Diehl (επιμ.), Christendom and Its Discontents: Exclusion, Persecution and Rebellion, 1000-1500, Cambridge, 1996.
    Saul Friedländer, Η ναζιστική Γερμανία και οι Εβραίοι (μτφ. Η. Ιατρού, Επίμετρο: Ρ. Μπενβενίστε). Πόλις 2013.
    Paul Gilroy, Between Camps: Nations, Culture and the Allure of Race. Penguin 2001.
    Mark Mazower, Η αυτοκρατορία του Χίτλερ: Ναζιστική εξουσία στην κατοχική Ευρώπη. Αθήνα: Αλεξάνδρεια 2009.
    Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust. Yale University Press 2002.
    Dirk Moses, “The Holocaust and World History”. Dan Stone (επιμ.), The Holocaust and Historical Methodology. Berghahn, 2012.
    Marc Nichanian, The Historiographic Perversion, μτφ. & επίμετρο Gil Anidjar, Columbia University Press, 2009.
    Ρίκα Μπενβενίστε, Αυτοί που επέζησαν: Αντίσταση, εκτόπιση, επιστροφή. Θεσσαλονικείς Εβραίοι στη δεκαετία του 1940. Πόλις 2014.
    Berber Bevernage, History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence: Time and Justice. Routlege, 2012.
    Dan Stone, «The Historiography of Genocide: Beyond “Uniqueness” and Ethnic Competition». Rethinking History, 8, 1, 2004: 127-142.
    Enzo Traverso, Οι ρίζες της ναζιστικής βίας. Μια ευρωπαϊκή γενεαλογία (μτφ. Ν. Κούρκουλος), Εκδόσεις του Εικοστού Πρώτου, 2013.

    Related academic journals:

    Sixteenth Century Journal
    Renaissance Quarterly
    Comparative Studies in Society and History
    Journal of Modern History
    Rethinking History
    Holocaust and Genocide Studies
    Holocaust Studies: A Journal of culture and history
    History and Memory
    Témoigner entre histoire et mémoire : revue pluridisciplinaire de la Fondation Auschwitz.
    Yad vashem studies on the European Jewish catastrophe and resistance.
    Holocaust: studii si cercetari.
    Jewish Social Studies