This course will examine the origins and forms of what a legal scholar once called an “odious scourge”: genocide. For years, genocide mainly referred to the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews during World War II. However, since the end of the Cold War events in Eastern Europe, Central Africa, and elsewhere have drawn scholars’ attention to genocide as a political phenomenon that may be studied across regions and time periods. Although ethical and policy concerns will underlie the discussion, as they do whenever genocide is the topic of study, our main objective will be to examine the determinants of genocide and related forms of mass violence.
The Comparative Study of Genocide