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Unit information: Genocide in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Genocide in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HISTM0049
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Michlic
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This LRU is designed as an introduction to the study of war, nationalism and genocide in the twentieth century and beyond. We will explore some of the most important aspects of the relationship between the destructive capacity of war and its effects on individuals and communities who produce, are subjected to, and must eventually come to terms with the aftermath of mass violence. We will focus on the manner in which the warfare affects the status of ethnic minorities; the circumstances under which ethnic scapegoating turns into massacres and genocide; the destructive psychological effects of modern warfare but also its ability to produce and reproduce those who take pleasure in killing; the effects of modern warfare on the status of women and on children; the manner in which individuals remember and tell their experience of total war; and the devastating consequences of combining modern warfare with genocidal ideology and racial prejudice. Europe in the twentieth century will constitute the main region of our historical investigation, but, by a way of comparison, we will also discuss the wars and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda Congo, and Darfur. We will base our discussions on the readings of various sources: history writings, literary works, investigative journalism, diaries and memoirs and on analyzing documentary films.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1) To give students a broad grounding in the history of genocide during the twentieth century.

2) To improve students’ ability to argue effectively and at length (including an ability to cope with complexities and to describe and deploy these effectively).

3) To be able to display high level skills in selecting, applying, interpreting and organising information, including evidence of a high level of bibliographical control.

4) To develop the ability of students to evaluate and/or challenge current scholarly thinking.

5) To foster student’s capacity to take a critical stance towards scholarly processes involved in arriving at historical knowledge and/or relevant secondary literature.

6) To be able to demonstrate an understanding of concepts and an ability to conceptualise.

7) To develop students’ capacity for independent research.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Information

One summative coursework essay of 5000 words (100%). This will assess ILOs 1-7.

Reading and References

Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernam eds., The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide, Princeton and London: Princeton University Press, 2003; 1st ed.;

Roy Gutman, David Rieff and Anthony Dworking, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know, 2nd revised edition, New York: W.W. Norton &CO, 2007

Jean Hatzfeld, The strategy of antelopes: living in Rwanda after the genocide, London: Serpent’s Tail, 2009.

Stephen Baum, The Psychology of Genocide ---Perpetrators, Bystanders and Rescuers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Jacques Semelin, Claire Andrieu and sarah Gensburger, eds., Resisting Genocide – The Multiple Forms of Rescue, New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.