2017-2018 Catalog

HIST 376 Genocide and the Ethical Crisis of Modernity

This course confronts the difficult and profound ethical, social, and political questions unleashed by the crime of genocide. The idea, actuality, and experience of genocide in the twentieth century have raised questions about the very nature of society and humanity. By studying the genocidal crises of the modern age, from the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to the Holocaust to the contemporary genocide in Darfur in the Sudan, we are forced to consider the darkest chapters of modern history and the ethical trauma that follows in their wake. While most students have heard of the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust, which murdered the Jews of Europe, the other genocides of the last hundred years are less well known. This course, by comparing the societies which experienced genocide and the conditions which produced it, will examine the psychological, cultural, and societal roots of human cruelty, mass violence, and genocide. With this in mind this course will take a chronological and thematic approach to introducing students to the history of genocide.


4 units