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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

The History of Genocide (3 cr)
Mark Roseman
HIST-W 335 (13517)
TR 9:30-10:45 (WY 015)
CASE S&H; CASE GCC; Themester course

Course flyer

Genocide is the extermination by the powerful of the powerless. It is not the violent clash of professional or volunteer armies. Genocide is also a concept, a word, and a legal term.  Why was it coined only in the 20th Century? Is there really a discrete, cohesive phenomenon of “genocide”, or would it be better to talk of mass violence, massacres of civilians, violent attacks against particular social groups, and so on?

What have been the causes, character and consequences of genocide from ancient times to the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and Darfur? What has driven leaders, states and groups to pursue such horrific policies? Is there something in the nature of the modern world that makes genocide particularly thinkable, even attractive? What is it like to be the victim/survivor? Until recently, scholarship on genocide was the preserve of political scientists and sociologists. It is only recently that historians have begun to devote attention to it. Historians seek to identify the complexity of particular epochs and places, and explore whether and how genocides can be linked together. 

The course is part of the Themester on Remembering and Forgetting. The challenge and centrality of memory in relation to genocide will be a key element in the course.

Weekly reading will involve a blend of primary sources, and secondary sources. They will be drawn from two course books and additional articles and primary sources. The course is assessed by a 10-12 page research paper and small scaffolding exercises worikng towards it, as well as two additional writing assignments, and quizzes on the reading.