College Of Arts And Sciences | Megamurder: The Politics of Genocide
E104 | 0147 | Bielasiak
11:15-12:30 TR WH 120
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? Who bears
individual or collective responsibility for crimes against humanity? Should
the international community intervene to prevent genocide? To answer these
questions we must enter the world of the perpetrators, the hell of the
victims, and the silence of the bystanders. In each case of genocide, the
Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and others, we confront political,
sociological, and psychological issues that arise in the process of mass
murder: the connection between technology and collective violence, the place
of faith or selfishness in survival, or the role of memory and forgetting.
The content of the course presents each of us with an intellectual
challenge, but also with an emotional experience that must be harnessed for
reasoned understanding. We will use a variety of sources, historical
studies and survivors' testimonies, documentary and fictional accounts,
films and poems. Class assignments will go beyond the typical examinations
so that we can personalize the issues through reaction essays, an oral
history report, and an advocacy paper. 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.