One of the defining features of the twentieth century was the repeated use of genocide and other forms of one-sided mass violence by states against internal and external civilian populations.  In this lecture course, we will explore these phenomena from a theoretical and historical point of view, with particular attention to the American genocide, the Holocaust, the mass violence carried out by Communist regimes (e.g., Stalin's USSR, Mao's China, and Pol Pot's Cambodia), and the "ethnic cleansing" and genocides of the post -Cold War era (e.g., in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda).  While the experience of victims will be of central concern, we will also examine the experience and motivations of rank-and-file perpetrators, the explicit and implicit goals of perpetrator regimes, and the response--or lack of response -- by members of the international community.  Requirements include attendance at lecture, active participation in weekly section meetings, weekly readings of about 100 - 150 pages, the viewing of several films, three short (2-page) writing assignments based on required readings/films, a mid-term exam, and a final exam.  The course is open to all undergraduate students and does not have any prerequisites.  

The textbook for the course is Adam Jones, Genocide:  A Comprehensive Introduction (2nd ed.)  Excerpts from the following books will also likely be assigned:  Jean Hatzfeld, Machete Season:  The Killers in Rwanda Speak (2005); Donald E. & Lorna Touryan Miller, Survivors:  An Oral History of the American Genocide (1993); Donal L. Niewyk, ed., The Holocaust: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation (4th ed.); Elie Wiesel, Night (2006); and Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (2008).  Likely films to be viewed include:  The Armenian Genocide (dir Andrew Goldberg);  The Wannsee Conference (dir. Heinz Schirk); A Century of Revolution, Part II (dir. Sue Williams);  S21 - The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (dir. Rithy Pan); and The Ghosts of Rwanda (dir, Greg Barker.)

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
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