Postmodernism and Holocaust Denial

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Deborah Lipstadt, in "Denying the Holocaust" (1994), blames postmodernism for creating an intellectual climate favorable to Holocaust denial, and characterizes the latter phenomenon as "deconstructionist history at its worst". Eaglestone argues against this accusation. According to the postmodern view, there is no such thing as objective history. History is a compendium of texts on the past, each of them subjective and dependent on the worldview of its author. However, history as a genre of writing is subject to generic conventions. Holocaust denial is not a kind of history at all, because it does not obey the rules of the genre and has aims different from those of history. This is what the court had in mind in its judgment on the Irving vs. Lipstadt trial in 2000, when it characterized Irving as being not a historian but a racist and antisemite. Argues that the questions postmodernism asks of history and historians are in fact strong weapons in combating Holocaust denial.

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I’ve been reading a number of books about postmodernism and deconstructionism recently, but not in any particularly organized fashion. This one turned up on some recommendation list or another, got ... Read full review

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