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HIS558: Genocide in the Modern World

This course studies the history of genocide in the 20th and 21st centuries, exploring both the patterns and unique circumstances of this important global issue.

This course studies the history of genocide in the 20th and 21st centuries, exploring both the patterns and unique circumstances of this important global issue. Students read and hear from historians, victims and perpetrators. Likely case studies are the Holocaust, Cambodia, the Balkans, and Rwanda, with time set aside for research into events determined by student interest. Students study root causes, including economic, political and social factors that permit the occurrence of genocide; assess international responses; and evaluate attempts at reconciliation, including justice systems and community reactions. The comparative nature of the course creates a framework to draw broad lessons about what leads to genocide in the modern world; enables us to assess the behavior, actions and inaction of the various groups involved; and pushes us to consider how these lessons could be applied to prevent such crimes in the future. Open to seniors.