Full title: Genocide and Human Rights in European History and International Politics This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding genocide and human rights from the French Revolution to the present. It will consider the different perspectives of historians, political scientists, legal experts, journalists and policy makers who have shaped contemporary academic and non-academic understandings of the subject matter. We will begin by exploring the first instances of coordinated violence against non-combatants during the modern period and consider how such atrocities compared to pre-modern genocides. At the same time, we will trace the emergence of a discourse about human rights during the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Students will be exposed to scholarly literature that considers how a rhetoric about human rights both encouraged and criticized European imperial claims and colonial aims across the globe. The course will then shift attention towards the most well-researched cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing during the twentieth century. We will analyze the Armenian genocide and the Nazi Holocaust alongside other instances of racially, nationally and politically motivated violence. The course will consider how the most severe instances of mass violence influenced transformations in state policies and international law. We will evaluate the strengths and weakness of international regulatory bodies and organizations that were designed to punish perpetrators and prevent genocide and human rights abuses. Students will be asked to assess the different ways in which legal experts define genocidal intent as they determine which instances of ethnic cleansing qualify as genocide. The final part of the course will require students to engage with contemporary debates about the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions as a form of genocide prevention.

Course Information



4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Fall 2017

Filip Erdeljac
R: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM 285M 705
Lawrence Wolff
T: 12:15 PM - 2:00 PM KJCC 324
Maria Luisa Ardizzone
W: 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM CASA 203
Marion Kaplan
M: 12:30 PM - 3:15 PM KJCC BSMT

Spring 2018

Christian W Martin
T: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM KJCC 324
Joseph Viscomi
M: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM KJCC 324