Professor Anthony Kauders: An Interdisciplinary Love Affair? History, Psychology and the Study of Antisemitism

Professor of Modern History

Psychohistory has a bad name, and for good reasons. Historians are loath to psychoanalyze individuals, may these be dead or alive, and they are equally loath to pass judgment on personalities, may these be ordinary or pathological. Students and laypeople, however, find the idea of combining history with psychology attractive, even commonsensical. The appeal may be misguided and confirm the reservations mentioned above. But I would like to suggest that the interplay between psychology and history makes perfect sense, even though this interplay need not be called psychohistory, and even though the interplay I am concerned with highlights the benefits for the historian rather than the advantages for the psychologist. In the lecture, I would like to remind listeners that psychological theories have always informed the study of antisemitism. And I would like to suggest that past practice – believing that allusions to psychological terminology will suffice and relying unduly on Freudian theory – has led scholars to abandon the search for alternative (social) psychological models that might allow for a better understanding of antisemitism. I hope to be able to show that revisiting the psychology of Jew-hatred is well worth the effort and that it may contribute to future research on antisemitism.


Image of Professor Anthony Kauders Anthony Kauders is Professor of Modern History at Keele University. Born in Zürich, Switzerland, Anthony studied and worked in Britain, Israel, Germany and the United States. His doctorate examined political reactions to antisemitism in the Weimar Republic. Subsequent research focused on West German efforts to come to terms with the Nazi past as well as Jewish efforts to come to terms with life in the Federal Republic. More recently, Anthony wrote about the reception of psychoanalysis and the history of hypnosis in twentieth-century Germany. His current project seeks to combine antisemitism studies with social psychological approaches.



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Westminster Theatre, Chancellor's Building
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01782 734036

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