HISTART 394-006

Special Topics in Humanities
How the Nazi Regime Stole the Ancient Past

180 Tappan
M W 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
3 Credit Lecture

This course will investigate how the Nazi party, through the instigations of its ministry of culture led by Heinrich Himmler, propagated false narratives of the ancient past of the Germans through ancient imagery. By compelling the academic institutions into promoting and executing ill-conceived methodologies in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, and art history, the Nazis were able to fabricate a pseudo-history that supported their claims of Aryan superiority. The very claims that "justified" the genocide of non-Aryans, namely the Jewish people, Sinti-Roma people, and other "non-desirables."

This course is designed to teach students how symbolism and ancient imagery can easily be manipulated into propaganda. Students will learn how the Nazis cloaked pseudo-archaeological methods and data with a scientific legitimacy in order to "prove" their preconceived conclusions. We will review a survey of the art, artifacts, and symbols of the ancient Roman, Greek, and Nordic (among others) cultures that were appropriated by the Nazi regime and manipulated for ideological purposes. We will also compare and contrast the Nazi approach to that of the Italian fascist government under Mussolini as a case study in order to understand the multiple ways the same ancient imagery can be manipulated.

HISTART Distribution Requirements: Ancient/Modern and Contemporary, Europe and the US