Guest Lecturers, Seminars

“Fascination and Seduction: The Emotional Politics of National Socialism” Seminar with Ute Frevert and Avner Ben-Amos

IMG_0715Last week our students were privileged to participate in the second event in a series of cooperative efforts to foster Israeli-German academic dialogue.  In this effort we have partnered with our colleagues at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, Massuah Institute, and the Freidrich Ebert Foundation.  The day began with a tour of the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, and featured a two person panel about emotion in Nazi Germany and emotion in national remembrance.


IMG_0747Ute Frevert is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society.  Between 2003 and 2007 she was a professor of German history at Yale University and prior to that she taught History at the Universities of Konstanz, Bielefeld and the Free University in Berlin.  Her research interests include the history of the emotions, social and cultural history of modern times, gender history and political history.  Ute Frevert is an honorary professor at the Free University in Berlin and member of several scientific boards; she was awarded the prestigious Leibniz Prize in 1998. She describes her lecture “Fascination and Seduction: The Emotional Politics of National Socialism” saying:


“How did National Socialism manage to become so fascinating and seductive that it captured the hearts and minds of so many?  Faith, love, and hate were some of the feelings that the Nazism persistently evoked and imposed.  The state devised mechanisms to produce, maintain, and manipulate the citizens’ emotions according to specific political goals in a manner unprecedented in German history.  Feelings were thus not only the recipients and tools of propaganda mechanisms in order for the regime to obtain the consent and affective commitment of the ruled: They had a further function as mobilization and motivation tools, they spurred into action.”

Also on the panel was Professor Avner Ben-Amos teaches history of education at the School of Education at Tel Aviv IMG_0755University.  He received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.  His main research interests are civic education, political rituals and the formulation of collective memory in late modern France and Israel.  He describes his lecture, saying:

“Patriotic values are inculcated in the Israeli education system through both formal and informal education.  In this lecture I will concentrate on one element of informal education : commemorative ceremonies for the fallen soldiers and for the victims of the Holocaust.  The ceremonies will be presented both diachronically and synchronically: first, I will trace the history of commemorative ceremonies within the Zionist school system since the 1920s; then, I will analyze the common structure of these ceremonies, their meaning as vehicles of national memory and their performative mechanism that mobilizes the senses in order to create identification with the Zionist project.”IMG_0770

IMG_0729Both participants had a discussion with the attendees, which was moderated by Professor Hanna Yablonka, Professor of Holocaust Studies at the Ben-Gurion University.  We are proud to provide such interesting seminars to our students, and were glad to host Professor Frevert.

Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website:


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