Teaching

Professor Veidlinger teachers courses at the University of Michigan on Jewish History, the Holocaust, and Antisemitism. He has also taught at Indiana University, Georgetown University, and summer seminars at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine.

HistoryLab: Collaborative Research in the Holocaust

This course offered at the University of Michigan in conjunction with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, allows students to develop digital analytical materials based on the museum’s archives for its online educational programming. Students develop research, critical analysis, and writing skills working in a collaborative, team-based approach to historical research methods and practices. The class travels to Washington, DC, to utilize the museum’s collections and to present to their stakeholders. The innovative course design was featured in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Memory & Action.  in LSA Magazine and in the University of Michigan History Department’s news.

 

History of the Holocaust

The Holocaust-the persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945–was one of the most horrific events in the history of the world. The atrocities committed in the heart of the twentieth-century threw into question the very notion of human progress, and continue to haunt humanity to this day. Many of you have seen images and films about the Holocaust, or have read literature and diaries from the time, but mostly we tend to shy away from confronting the bigger questions that the Holocaust forces us to ask about our history and ourselves. This course will better equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to evaluate various interpretations of the Holocaust by grounding you with the factual basis on which these interpretations are made.

“The Last March” Nathan Rapoport, 1976

 

Antisemitism and Philosemitism: Jews in Myth and Thought

From Moses the lawgiver to Madoff the shyster, Jews have figured prominently in Europeanand world myth for some two thousand years. Regardless of whether it is out of admiration for their contributions to modern civilization or as a warning about imagined Jewish conspiracies, the nature of “the Jew” has occupied some of the most influential minds of the last two centuries. Some have lauded them as God’s Chosen People, Hollywood moguls, NobelLaureates, intellectual geniuses, and highly accomplished doctors, lawyers, and professionals. At the same time “the Jews” have been feared and despised as imagined worshippers of the Anti-Christ, political conspirators, financial manipulators, child murderers, and threats to racial purity.

“The Jewish Peril” French translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 1924

Through close readings of some of the most influential works on the nature of Jewish identity—written by Jews and non-Jews alike– this course will analyze some of the ways that Jews have been imagined in modern history. Notably, this class does not focus on actual Jews. You will learn little about Jewish life, community and culture from the readings in this course. Instead you will come to understand how the image of the Jew has been imagined by a variety of writers, many of whom had little or no contact with actual Jews and wrote their treatises solely on the basis of their own prejudices and imaginations. Since antisemitism remains a threat and prominent—even accepted—form of bigotry in the world today, it is important to understand the tropes and myths that inform it.

 

 

Jewish History, 1881-1948

“Help him build the Land of Israel” Keren Hayesod poster, 1930s. Designed by Modest Stein

The Jewish impact on the development of the modern age has famously led some to term the twentieth century “The Jewish Century.” At the same time, modernity in all its forms has impacted the history of Jewish civilization in fundamental ways. This course will study Jewish life in the modern period, focusing on both the role that Jews have played in the development of the modern world and the effects that the development of modernity have had on the Jewish people. We will evaluate the ways that Jewish identity persevered throughout the period, and the means by which the Jewish people were able to create and maintain a community without political sovereignty. We will see how the Jewish enlightenment and emancipation began to break down traditional communal structures, and how the Jewish community responded to these challenges in the forms of Zionism, socialism, assimilation, and migration. We will also look at some of the ways that non-Jews responded to the changes within the Jewish community, including the advent of modern anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. The focus of this course is on the modern European Jewish experience, although we will touch on the experience of Jews in America and the Middle East as well.

“Build a Communist Life in the Fields of the USSR” Soviet poster 1920s

In addition to learning about the Jewish past, students in this course will develop historical skills, including how to approach texts from a historical perspective, how to think analytically about the past, how to formulate historically relevant questions, and how to analyze a variety of historical materials, including primary source texts and modern scholarship. Students will conduct weekly text analysis exercises designed to develop critical reading skills and analytical writing.