The Polish-Jewish scholar Raphael Lemkin coined the term "genocide" in 1944. This class will explore the meaning of this term and specific instances of genocides throughout history in an effort to understand how and why genocides occur. Our focal point is the Holocaust, the mass murder of European Jewry by Nazi Germans and the most well known example of genocide. We will also study genocide in other contexts, paying close attention to definitions of the term "genocide." Our aim is not a direct comparison of these unique historical events but rather an understanding of how individual and collective actions shape social, cultural, economic, and political circumstances and how these actions determine our individual and collective experiences. In addition to genocide, we will also focus on war crimes.
Required course for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Certificate and M.A.