Zygmunt Bauman’s Modernity and the Holocaust is a decisive text of intellectual reflection after Auschwitz, in which Bauman rejected the idea that the Holocaust represented the polar opposite of modernity and saw it instead as its dark potentiality. Bringing together leading scholars from across disciplines, this volume offers the first set of focused and critical commentaries on this classic work of social theory, evaluating its ongoing contribution to scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. Addressing the core messages of Modernity and the Holocaust that continue to sound amidst the convulsions of the present, the chapters situate Bauman’s volume in the social, cultural and academic context of its genesis, and considers its role in the complex processes of Holocaust memorialisation. Offering extensions of Bauman’s thesis to lesser-known and undertheorised events of mass violence, and also considering the significance of Janina Bauman’s writings in their own right, this volume will appeal to scholars of sociology, intellectual history, Holocaust and genocide studies, moral philosophy, memory studies and cultural theory.

chapter |21 pages

Editors' introduction

Through the window again: revisiting Modernity and the Holocaust
ByJack Palmer, Dariusz Brzeziński

part Part 1|33 pages

Sociology after Modernity and the Holocaust

chapter 2|17 pages

The sociology of modernity, the ethnography of the Holocaust

What Zygmunt Bauman knew
ByJoanna Tokarska-Bakir

part Part 2|51 pages

Rationality, obedience, agency

chapter 3|16 pages

From understanding victims to victims' understanding

Rationality, shame and other emotions in Modernity and the Holocaust
ByDominic Williams

chapter 4|13 pages

Warsaw Jews in the face of the Holocaust

‘Trajectory’ as the key concept in understanding victims' behaviour
ByMaria Ferenc

part Part 3|33 pages

Extensions and reevaluations

chapter 6|14 pages

Reassessing Modernity and the Holocaust in the light of genocide in Bosnia

ByArne Johan Vetlesen

chapter 7|17 pages

The Rwandan genocide and the multiplicity of modernity

ByJack Palmer

part Part 4|54 pages

‘That world that was not his’ – on Janina Bauman

chapter 8|11 pages

Janina Bauman

To remain human in inhuman conditions
ByLydia Bauman

chapter 9|21 pages

Janina and Zygmunt Bauman

A case study of inspiring collaboration
ByIzabela Wagner

part Part 5|35 pages

The legacies of Modernity and the Holocaust

chapter 12|14 pages

Modernity and the Holocaust and the concentrationary universe

ByMax Silverman

chapter |14 pages


An afterword
ByBryan Cheyette