Comparative Genocides

History 103U.002

Fall 2014
Day & Time: 
Th 2-4P
This senior seminar is an introduction to the field of genocide studies from an interdisciplinary, comparative, and thematic perspective.  Its main characteristics follow.  First, this seminar will not focus on any single genocide; instead, it will try to provide a good understanding of the extreme diversity of this form of mass killing. Second, even though it will emphasize twentieth-century cases, it will also cover earlier occurrences.  Third, it will touch upon the contributions of various disciplines: anthropology, international law, political science, social psychology, and sociology. Fourth, a number of relevant thematic issues will be discussed: “genocide and gender;” “memory, forgetting, and denial”; “justice and truth”; and “intervention and prevention.”
The seminar will start with a broad narrative survey of genocides in world history.  We will continue with readings on the concept of genocide and the discontents this concept generates.  We will then focus on case-studies summing up the current state of the historiography. Thereafter, disciplinary approaches and thematic issues will be treated.  Finally, we will conclude the seminar with two acclaimed advanced readings, which require prior knowledge of genocides.   
These are some of the case-studies we will discuss: genocide in the Americas, the destruction of the Herero in German South West Africa (1904-08), the Armenian genocide, the mass killings resulting from Stalin’s regime, the Holocaust and its historiography, the death of millions of Chinese under Mao, the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, mass murders in Bosnia and Kosovo, and the Rwandan genocide.  

Course Books

Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide by Semelin, Jacques Columbia University Press. ISBN: 978-0-231-14283-0 Required
Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe by Naimark, Norman.M. Harvard University Press. ISBN: 978-0674009943 Required
The Historiography of Genocide by Stone, Dan Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 978-0-230-27955-1 Required
The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies by Bloxham, Donald and Moses, A. Dirk Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0-967791-7 Required
What Is Genocide? by Shaw, Martin Polity Press. ISBN: 978-07456-3183-7 Required
Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur by Kiernan, Ben Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0-300-14425-3 Required