In the last century, genocide has occurred all too often. The Holocaust is the most famous case, but it was not the first, nor has it been the last. Indeed, in the past 25 years, genocide has occurred in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sudan. But just what is genocide? Why do states engage in mass murder? How do they mobilize citizens to become perpetrators? What happens to societies in the aftermath of genocide? Was the Holocaust unique, or can we make important comparisons to other instances of genocide? And finally, what are the politics surrounding the term “genocide”? We will examine these and other questions through the in-depth study of three particular cases of genocide: the Nazi murder of Jews during World War II, Pol Pot’s massacre of Cambodians in the 1970s, and the 1994 killings in Rwanda.
Fall semester. Professors Boucher, Redding, and Trask.