Perpetrating Genocide (3 cr)
HIST-J 400 Seminar in History #8830
In earlier decades of the post-war period, those seeking to understand the ‘Final Solution’ often understandably focused their attention on the figure of Hitler himself. But increasingly interest shifted to the men (and they were very largely men) involved at all levels in developing and realising genocide. Over 100,000 individuals were in some way or other participants in the murders of the Holocaust. Now, we have come to realize that to understand participation in mass murder, we need to look at other genocides too, to identify what is common and what is distinctive. Is it just a sad fact of humanity that when you need mass murderers “they will come”? Or does it take very specific conditions to make men willing to kill their neighbors, or to plan the elimination of women and children?
This is a senior-level capstone course, taught in one 2 hour session week. Sessions will be in discussion format. The central focus of this class is the production of an original 15-20 page research paper. Students will learn how to find and define a problem of study, undertake bibliographic research, think through and apply appropriate methodologies, collect and interpret data and write cogently and persuasively. Weekly readings will be a blend of primary sources (produced by people in the past) and secondary sources (written by historians, social scientists, philosophers and others). Evaluation will be based on class participation, several short assignments, and the research paper.