Political Science | Politics of Genocide
Y348 | 12229 | Bielasiak

Y348 Politics of Genocide - Bielasiak

Throughout history, people have turned against other racial, ethnic,
or political groups and committed mass murder in the name of a better
tomorrow.  What are the justifications for such acts of human
destruction?  How do we define individual and collective
responsibility for crimes against humanity?  Should the international
community intervene to prevent genocide?  We will focus on these
questions to "understand" genocide through the study of the major
instances of mass murder over the past century, from the Holocaust to
Darfur.   For each case, we will cover first the historical processes
and political arguments leading to genocide.  A second issue addresses
the question of political responsibility for mass murder through the
eyes of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders.  Third, we will
consider the issue of international responses to genocide.
Course requirements include a midterm and a final exam, a short paper,
and in-class assignments.  We will use a variety of sources, from
historical studies and survivors' testimonies, documentary and
fictional accounts, to films and poems.  The point is not only to
understand genocide but also to account for the tragedy in a way that
confronts our humanity and our commitments to become more than
bystanders to history.