SYL+Y348+Genocide+2010 - Political Science Y348 THE...

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Political Science Y348 THE POLITICS OF GENOCIDE “In an age of absurdity, we must invent reason” – Elie Wiesel Fall 2010 Prof. Jack Bielasiak Section CLSD 28142 Woodburn 413; 855-3117 MW 1:00 - 2:15 pm e-mail: [email protected] Woodburn 009 Office Hrs: M 11 am – 12 pm W 2:30: - 3:30 pm Associate Instructor : Name: Matthew Slaboch Office: WH330 email: [email protected] COURSE DESCRIPTION: What is this course about? Throughout history, people have turned against other racial, ethnic, or political groups and committed mass murder in the name of a better tomorrow. What are the justifications for such acts of human destruction? How do we define individual and collective responsibility for crimes against humanity? Can and should the international community intervene to prevent mass destruction and genocide? We will focus on these and similar questions to "understand" genocide through the examination of the major instances of mass murder in the 20 th century, and beyond. For each case, we will cover the political conditions and ideological arguments leading to genocide. A second issue addresses the question of political responsibility through the eyes of perpetrators, victims and bystanders. Special attention will be paid to the responses of the international community to the genocides. We then turn to the ramifications of genocide and its impact on humanity. We conclude by reflecting on the question of genocide and the dehumanization of the world in the 20th century. The content of the course presents each of us with an emotional and painful experience that must be harnessed for reasoned understanding. We will use a variety of sources, historical studies and survivors' testimonies, documentary and fictional accounts, films and poems. The point is not only to understand genocide but also to account for the tragedy in a way that confronts our humanity and our commitments to become more than bystanders to history. COURSE PROCESS: What will we do in the class? In our study, we will do more than memorize facts and interpret concepts. Our task is to understand and to feel what often appears incomprehensible. There is no easy path to attain that goal: we will use a variety of approaches and assignments to facilitate our work, as outlined below. For the course to succeed, I ask each of you to take an active part in the intellectual and emotional enterprise. In the first palace, this signifies the usual preparation for class through timely reading of the assigned texts, reflection upon their content, and participation in class discussion. 1
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Readings There are three required textbooks. The textbooks are available for purchase at local bookstores and are on reserve in the UGL. The books are: Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan, The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge UP, 2003) HV 6322.7 S654 2003 William L. Hewitt, Defining the Horrific: Readings on Genocide and Holocaust in the Twentieth
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SYL+Y348+Genocide+2010 - Political Science Y348 THE...

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