HISTORY 407 - Advanced Study in Comparative and Transnational History
Fall 2023, Section 001 - The Problem of Genocide
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected three times for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


The twentieth century has been dubbed by some historians and politicians the “century of genocide.” And while the colonial mass killing in the Belgian Congo, the Holocaust, the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda have moved the international community into defining (Genocide Convention 1948), prohibiting and punishing genocide and crime against humanity, we, unfortunately, cannot speak of an end of large-scale genocidal atrocities as mass killings continue to be daily news items. Indeed recent years, the international language and definition of Genocide have become criticized as silencing rather than exposing state violence against civilians. In this course, we will explore this critique and how to move beyond it. To understand the reasons behind “genocidal moments,” this course examines modern forms of state and colonial atrocities through a comparative lens to determine patterns of violence and its aftermaths. To accomplish this, the course focuses on the more prominent themes of ‘Modernity and Genocide’, ‘Mechanism of Genocide’, ‘Memory and Genocide’, Media and Genocide’, ‘Denial’ and ‘Justice', 'Reconciliation and Prevention.’

A note on the term “comparative:” the study of genocide and the possibility of comparing one atrocity to another is not uncontroversial. This course by no means seeks to determine which genocide was the worse nor judge the degree of horrors based on a pornography of pain. Instead, the goal is—through a variety of primary and interdisciplinary scholarly works, literature, oral histories, court cases, film, and material culture—to dive into a critical comparative analysis while at the same time preserving the historical specificity of genocidal events. Questions we will ask are: How do genocides come about? What motivates people to partake or oppose the violence? How is genocide remembered, forgotten, and taught? And how may it be prevented?

This is a senior seminar, so you will be asked to do a good amount of reading as well as produce a substantial research paper. We will work on the paper throughout the semester.

Course Requirements:

Weekly reading responses, final research paper

Intended Audience:

Majors and non-majors, upper-class students

Class Format:



HISTORY 407 - Advanced Study in Comparative and Transnational History
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
Tu 4:00PM - 7:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

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