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School of Law

LAW6018 Law Modernity and the Holocaust

This module explores the Holocaust and the related Nazi racial-biological world view with particular reference to the role of law. Students will examine issues such as the occurrence of genocide in modernity, the role law played in reinforcing European anti-Semitism, the lessons for law and legal philosophy arising from Hitler’s rise to power and the use of constitutional means to rule using emergency powers, the divergent views in legal theory linking law with democracy or dictatorship, the legalization of the Nazi racial-biological world-view through eugenics and anti-Jewish legislation, the coordination of legal and administrative officials throughout occupied Europe, the difficulties posed to notions of legal and moral accountability by ‘state crime’ and ‘state sanctioned massacre’. The post WWII ambivalent role of law in responding to the holocaust will be examined along with the rise of 'genocide' as a concept of international criminal law, a subject of research and a prism for understanding the 'dark side' of modernity.

Method of assessment

  • 50% exam
  • 50% coursework (7500 words)

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