Teaching Genocide Studies

Teaching Genocide Studies

Recently, I asked members of the IAGS community who teach in the field of Genocide Studies and related areas to submit course descriptions, lists of readings, and syllabi to the IAGS blog.  The IAGS blog is an appropriate platform to share such resources.  Those new to teaching Genocide Studies as well as those of us who have been teaching in the field for some time can only benefit from a broad and rich resource such as ours.  Please consider sending your material to me at [email protected].  Professor Jobb Arnold's syllabus is posted below.

Menno Simons College

In association with The University of Winnipeg

Course Syllabus

Genocide, War and Conflict



Instructor.............. Dr. Jobb Arnold

Course Description:

War and genocide are terms used to express some of the most extreme and complex manifestations of

deadly conflict. These instances are not inscrutable nor are they inevitable. In this course students will

be introduced to foundational texts on the topics of both war and genocide. We will examine the root

causes, social dimensions and psychological impacts of these phenomenon drawing on

multidisciplinary perspectives from sociology, anthropology, psychology as well as genocide studies.

The purpose of the course is not to provide an exhaustive account of different wars and genocides or to

offer definitive answers regarding the nature of their occurrence. Rather, the readings will highlight

salient features, patterns and logics that manifest across diverse contexts meant to inform students

understanding of threshold scenarios within the field of conflict studies.

The class format will include lectures, discussion, small group interaction, and films, with the goal of

working as a learning community. Students are expected to do considerable reading and reflection, and

actively engage in class activities. Informed participation is a significant course evaluation factor.

Much of the material we will be covering is of a difficult and disturbing nature and if students find this

triggering, they are encouraged to access supports as needed either through the instructor or campus


Required Text:

Harald Welzer. Climate wars: Why people will be killed in the 21st century. (London: Polity Press,


*All other required readings will be provided online through Nexus.


Course Topics

Note: This is a tentative outline and schedule of topics to be covered. Some topics and readings may be

omitted and others may be added.

Sept. 7: Introductory Discussion

Week 1: Setting the Parameters of the Topics

Sept. 12:

• Carl Von Clausewitz, “What is War?” in On war. trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret.

(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974): 75-94.


• Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, “Insurgency and counterinsurgency” in Counterinsurgency.

(Washington: Department of the Army, 2006): 1-24.

Sept. 14:

• Raphael Lemkin, “Genocide – A new term and new conception for destruction of nations.” In,

Axes rule in occupied Europe: Proposals for redress. (New Jersey: The Law Book, [1944]

2008): 179-93.

• Greg H. Stanton. The eight stages of genocide, (United States State Department Briefing Paper,

1996) http://www.genocidewatch.org/aboutgenocide/8stagesofgenocide.html

Week 2: Pre-conditions for violence

Sept 19:

• Ervin Staub. “Cultural-societal roots of violence: The examples of genocidal violence and of

contemporary youth violence in the United States.” American Psychologist. Vol.1, No. 2

(1996): 117-132.


• Martin Shaw. “The General Hybridity of War and Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research.

Vol. 9 No. 3 (2007): 461-73.

Sept 21: NO CLASS

Sept 26: Week 3: On Killing

• Lt.Col. Dave Grossman, “Killing and the existence of resistance: A world of virgins studying

sex.” On killing: The psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society. (New York: Back

Bay Books, 1996): 1-37.



• Jean Hatzfield, Machete Season: The killers in Rwanda speak. (New York: Farrar, Straus and

Giroux, 2005).

Sept 28:

• Rudolf Höss, “The final solution of the Jewish question in concentration camp Auschwitz.”

Death Dealer: The memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (New York: Da Capo Press,

1996): 27-48.


• Alexander Laban Hinton, “Why did you kill?: The Cambodian Genocide and the dark side of

face and honor.” The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 57, No. 1 (1998): 93-122.

Week 4: Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa

Oct. 3:

• René Lemarchand, “Rwanda: The state of research.” Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence,

[online], published on 27 May 2013, http://www.massviolence.org/RWANDA-THE-STATEOF-RESEARCH,742.


• Jean Hatzfield, Life Laid Bare: The survivors in Rwanda speak. (trans.) Linda Coverdale. (New

York: Other Press, 2007).

Oct. 5:

• Lee Ann Fuji, Killing neighbors: Webs of violence in Rwanda, (Cornell University Press: Ithica,



• Scott Straus. “Local dynamics.” In, The order of Genocide: Race, power, and war in Rwanda,

(Cornell University Press: Ithica, 2006): 65-95.

**October 9th -15th Reading Week – No Classes**

Week 5: The Shoah / Holocaust

Oct. 17:

• Raul Hilberg, “The structure of destruction.” in, The destruction of the European Jews (New

Haven: Yale University Press, 1985): 49-51.

• Raphael Lemkin, “German occupation.” In, Axes rule in occupied Europe: Proposals for

redress. (New Jersey: The Law Book, [1944] 2008).


Oct. 19:

• Zygmunt Bauman. “The ethics of obedience (reading Milgram).” In, Modernity and the

Holocaust. (Ithica: Cornell University Press, 1989): 151-166.


• Christopher R. Browning, “Ordinary men.” In Ordinary men: Reserve police battalion 101 and

the final solution in Poland. (New York: Harper Collins, 1992): 159-189.

Week 6: Colonial Genocide and Indigenous Peoples **Geraldine Shingoose***

Oct. 24:

• Andrea Smith, “Sexual Violence as a Tool of Genocide” in Conquest: Sexual Violence and

American Indian Genocide (New York: South End Press, 2005): 7-35.


• Patrick Wolf, “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native,” Journal of Genocide

Research, No. 8 Vol. 4 (2006): 387-409.

Oct 26:

• Andrew Woolford. Ontological Destruction: Genocide and Canadian Aboriginal Peoples.

Genocide Studies and Prevention 4, No.1 (2009): 81–97.

• Phil Fontaine and Bernie Farber, What Canada committed against First Nations was genocide.

The UN should recognize ithttp://media.knet.ca/node/22677


• Christopher Powell, “What do genocides kill? A relational conception of genocide,” Journal of

Genocide Research, Vol. 9, 4 (2007): 527–547.

Week 7: Cultural Genocide

Oct. 31:

• “Introduction.” In, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final

Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (Library and Archives Canada

Cataloguing in Publication, 2015): 1-29.


• Elisa Novick, “Physical-biological or socio-cultural ‘destruction’ in genocide? Unravelling the

legal underpinnings of conflicting interpretations.” Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 17, No.

1, (2015): 63–82.

** Nov. 1st FINAL DATE to withdraw without academic penalty from courses which begin in

September and end in December of the 2016 Fall Term **


Nov. 2:

• Robert van Krieken. “Rethinking cultural genocide: Aboriginal child removal and settler

colonial state formation.” Oceania, 75 (2004): 125-153.


• Lars Berster. “The alleged non-existence of cultural genocide: A response to the Croatia v.

Serbia judgment.” Journal of International Criminal Justice, 13 (2015): 677-692

Week 8: Environmental Pressures and Ecocide

Nov. 7:

• Martin Crook and Damien Short, “Marx, Lemkin and the genocide–ecocide nexus,” The

International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 18, No. 3 (2014): 298-319


• Jennifer Huseman and Damian Short, “‘A slow industrial genocide’: tar sands and the

indigenous peoples of northern Alberta.” The International Journal of Human Rights Vol.16,

No.1 (2012): 216-237.

Nov. 9:

• Valerie Percival and Thomas Homer-Dixon, “Environmental scarcity and violent conflict: The

case of Rwanda.” The Journal of Environment and Development, Vol. 5 No. 3 (1996): 270-289.

• Colin P. Kelley, Shahrzad Mohtadi, Mark A. Cane, Richard Seager, and Yochanan Kushnir

“Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought”

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol.112 No.11 (2015): 3241-3246.


• Andrea Graziosi, “Hunger by design: Holodomor in Ukraine.” In, Halyna Hryn (ed.) The great

Ukrainian famine in it’s Soviet Context famines and the Ukrainian Holodomor (2008).

Week 9: Intergenerational Trauma and Cultural Continuity

Nov. 14:

• Vamik Volkan, “Ancient fuel for a modern inferno: Time collapse in Bosnia-Herzegovina.” In

Bloodlines: From ethnic pride to ethnic terrorism. (Boulder Colorado: Westview Press, 1997):



• Derek Summerfield, “A critique of seven assumptions behind psychological trauma

programmes in war-affected areas.” Social Science & Medicine, 48 No.10 (1999): 1449-1462.

Nov. 16:

• Chandler, Michael J. and Christopher Lalonde. “Cultural continuity as a hedge against first

nations suicides in Canada.” Transcultural Psychiatry, 35, 2 (1998): 191-219.


• Tyler A. McCreary and Richard A. Milligan. “Pipelines, permits, and protests: Carrier Sekani


encounters with the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.” Cultural Geographies. (2014): Vol.

21, 1 (2014): 115–129.

Week 10: Representations and Psychic Numbing

Nov. 21:

• Alexander Laban Hinton, Kevin O’Neil Lewis “Genocide: Truth, Memory, and Representation:

An introduction.” in Genocide: Truth, Memory, and Representation (Durham: Duke University

Press, 2009): 1-29.


• Zorbas, Eugenia. “What does reconciliation after genocide mean? Public transcripts and hidden

transcripts in post-genocide Rwanda.” Journal of Genocide Research, 11, No. 1 (2009): 127-


Nov. 23:

• David A. Frank, Paul Slovic, Daniel Vastfjall and Daniel Vasfjall. “‘Statistics Don't Bleed’:

Rhetorical Psychology, Presence, and Psychic Numbing in Genocide Pedagogy. JAC,” Vol. 31,

3/4 (2011): 609-624


• “The Responsibility to protect: Report of the International Commission on Intervention and

State Sovereignty” (Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State

Sovereignty, 2001).

Week 11: In-Class Presentations

Nov. 28: Presentations

Nov. 30: Presentations


Dec. 5: Last Day of Class, Course Overview and Reflections