Papers in Holocaust and genocide studies / by Katherine Bischoping
Includes bibliographical references
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Electronic version from ProQuest
This dissertation consists of three papers in Holocaust and genocide studies. The first, "Social Influences on Holocaust Knowledge," explores the relationships between a survey measure of Holocaust knowledge and generation, education, ethnicity, and gender. The data come from a United States national sample survey of 491 respondents, a University of Michigan undergraduate student survey with 512 respondents, and a set of 40 qualitative interviews conducted with a subsample of the University of Michigan survey respondents. By combining qualitative and quantitative data analysis, we find that generation, education, and ethnicity are strong predictors of Holocaust knowledge because of underlying social psychological processes of identity. Other key findings in this paper are a theoretical critique of research in generations and collective memory suggested by analyzing knowledge of Anne Frank, and a methodological comparison of national and student samples. The second paper, "Hidden Assumptions about Methods and Meaning in Holocaust Knowledge Surveys," uses the same data, in combination with a review of theoretical perspectives in Holocaust and genocide studies, to identify flaws in survey research about Holocaust knowledge. Specifically, current survey research places undue faith in the ability to determine absolute knowledge levels, treats knowledge and emotion as distinct categories although theory predicts that both are valuable, and uses closed questions that do not address the critical thinking skills that would be essential in predicting or preventing genocides. Alternative methods of studying Holocaust knowledge within a survey framework are sketched out here. The third paper, "Border Lines: Indigenous Peoples in Genocide Studies," critically examines the conceptual framework in genocide studies that serves to exclude the experiences of indigenous peoples. Drawing on research about a variety of genocides, including the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, the former Yugoslavia, and genocides of indigenous peoples, a broader comparative approach to three areas in genocide studies--victims' responses to genocide, healing, and justice--is demonstrated. This study challenges assumptions about universals in genocide studies and contributes to overarching theoretical frameworks in the field. Questions about its practical value to indigenous peoples lead, in the conclusion, to a discussion of the nature and functions of knowledge and academic research.
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