Overview

Remembering the Holocaust explains why the Holocaust has come to be considered the central event of the 20th century, and what this means. Presenting Jeffrey Alexander's controversial essay that, in the words of Geoffrey Hartman, has already become a classic in the Holocaust literature, and following up with challenging and equally provocative responses to it, this book offers a sweeping historical reconstruction of the Jewish mass murder as it evolved in the popular imagination of Western peoples, as well as an ...
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Remembering the Holocaust: A Debate

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Overview

Remembering the Holocaust explains why the Holocaust has come to be considered the central event of the 20th century, and what this means. Presenting Jeffrey Alexander's controversial essay that, in the words of Geoffrey Hartman, has already become a classic in the Holocaust literature, and following up with challenging and equally provocative responses to it, this book offers a sweeping historical reconstruction of the Jewish mass murder as it evolved in the popular imagination of Western peoples, as well as an examination of its consequences. Alexander's inquiry points to a broad cultural transition that took place in Western societies after World War II: from confidence in moving past the most terrible of Nazi wartime atrocities to pessimism about the possibility for overcoming violence, ethnic conflict, and war. The Holocaust has become the central tragedy of modern times, an event which can no longer be overcome, but one that offers possibilities to extend its moral lessons beyond Jews to victims of other types of secular and religious strife. Following Alexander's controversial thesis is a series of responses by distinguished scholars in the humanities and social sciences--Martin Jay, Bernhard Giesen, Michael Rothberg, Robert Manne, Nathan Glazer, and Elihu & Ruth Katz--considering the implications of the universal moral relevance of the Holocaust. A final response from Alexander in a postscript focusing on the repercussions of the Holocaust in Israel concludes this forthright and engaging discussion. Remembering the Holocaust is an all-too-rare debate on our conception of the Holocaust, how it has evolved over the years, and the profound effects it will have on the way we envision the future.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This volume brings together a classical and controversial essay on the Holocaust by the sociologist Jeffrey Alexander with a spectrum of new commentaries by distinguished scholars in the humanities and social sciences...The Holocaust remains the generalized symbol of evil, but it is clear from these essays, Alexander's rejoinder, and ongoing global secular and religious strife that its moral lessons have not been universally absorbed."—Journal of the American Academy of Religion
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780190207632
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/24/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University.

Contributors:

Martin Jay is the Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bernhard Giesen is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Macrosociology at Universität Konstanz, Germany.

Michael Rothberg is Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Robert Manne is Professor of Politics at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

Nathan Glazer is Professor of Education Emeritus at Harvard University.

Elihu Katz is Trustee Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Communication at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Scientific Director of the Guttman Institute of Applied Social Research.

Ruth Katz is the Emanuel Alexander Professor Emerita of Musicology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

The social construction of moral universals Jeffrey C. Alexander Alexander, Jeffrey C. 3

Allegories of evil : a response to Jeffrey Alexander Martin Jay Jay, Martin 105

From denial to confessions of guilt : the German case Bernhard Giesen Giesen, Bernhard 114

Multidirectional memory and the universalization of the Holocaust Michael Rothberg Rothberg, Michael 123

On the political corruptions of a moral universal Robert Manne Manne, Robert 135

Jeffrey Alexander on the response to the Holocaust Nathan Glazer Glazer, Nathan 146

Life and death among the binaries : notes on Jeffrey Alexander's constructionism Elihu Katz Katz, Elihu Ruth Katz Katz, Ruth 156

On the global and local representations of the Holocaust tragedy Jeffrey C. Alexander Alexander, Jeffrey C. 173

Index 193

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