Page 1

HIST232: Mass violence in the 20th century OVERVIEW The module introduces you to the theoretical aspects and the historical experience of mass violence in the twentieth-century. It is divided into three parts: 1.

2. 3.

theoretical approaches to mass violence, focus on perpetrator motives, and overview of the conceptual and judicial tools determined during the twentieth century to deal with these kinds of violent actions (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide); exploration in comparative terms of selected case-studies of mass (‘eliminationist’) violence throughout the twentieth century and across the world; and discussion of the political and legal dimensions of prevention and punishment of such crimes, starting with the Nuremberg Charter and the ensuing trials of Nazi war criminals, and proceeding to more recent and contemporary initiatives (ad hoc courts, International Criminal Court)

Within a broadly historical framework of analysis, the module examines comparatively in which circumstances nationalism, memory, and prejudice (religious, ethnic, ‘racial’) resulted in devastating instances of mass violence, perpetrated by states, its various organisations, military and para-military forces, dissident groups, and above all ‘ordinary people’. Extensive use of audio-visual material (documentaries, podcasts, relevant films, oral and written testimonies) will be made in both lectures and seminars.

KEY THEMES • • • • • • • •

Violence: motivation, facilitation, execution Violence and modernity Cultural and psychological profile of perpetrators Victims: the individual dimension of mass violence The concepts of ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ Earlier instances of ‘eliminationist’ violence: massacres in history Organisation of eliminationist campaigns Prevention and punishment of crimes of mass violence

CASE STUDIES Ottoman empire and the ‘Armenian genocide’ (1905) The Nazi ‘final solution’: Jews and other victims Democratic Kampuchea/Cambodia (1975-79) Former Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo) (1991-2000) Rwanda (1994) Reference made to the genocide of the Hereros of Namibia (1905), the Ukrainian famine (1932-33), Biafra, East Timor, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Darfur.

HIST232 - Mass violence in the 20th century


SESSION (weekly)


Mon 10.10 Tue 11.10

Introduction Introduction & key concepts


Mon 17.10 Tue 18.10

Violence (1): context, motivation, facilitation Violence (2): perpetrators

Mon 24.10 Tue 25.10 Mon 31.10 Tue 1.11

Violence and ‘licence’ (1): long-term determinants Violence and ‘licence’ (2): short-term catalysts Mass violence & modernity: before the 20th century Ottomans and Armenians

Mon 7.11 Tue 8.11 Mon 14.11 Tue 15.11

The Nazi mass murder ‘industry’ The Nazi mass murder ‘industry’ Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, 1975-79 The ‘100-day’ genocide: Rwanda

Mon 21.11 Tue 22.11 Mon 28.11 Tue 29.11

Ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia (1) Ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia (2) Truth, reconciliation, and justice Justice: legal proceedings against perpetrators

Mon 5.12 Tue 6.12 Mon 12.12 Tue 13.12

An overview of other cases (1) An overview of recent/current cases (1) Conclusions Conclusions

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SEMINAR (fortnightly) Seminar 1 10/17 Oct Mass violence & the ‘human condition’ Seminar 2 24/31 Oct Authoritarian regimes, democracy & violence

7/14 Nov

Seminar 3 Violence and ‘licence’

Seminar 4 21/28 Nov OPEN seminar [topic will be determined by Week 5]

5/12 Dec

Seminar 5 Is international justice working?

LECTURES: weekly, Monday 5-6pm (Management School LT04) & Tuesday 5-6pm (Furness LT2) SEMINARS: fortnightly, Tuesday 10am, 12, and 2pm (groups to be arranged in Week 1)

ASSESSMENT The course is assessed entirely by coursework. There will be no end-of-year examination for HISt232. 1. Assignment (1500 words; 40%)

2. Essay (2500-3000 words; 60%) 3. Seminar performance

: a special project on a place of violence - whether a camp, a prison or a specially designated facility, in one of the case studies studied on the course. If you prefer to use another case study, consult with your tutor first. Deadline: Tuesday 13 December (Week 10, Michaelmas Term), 11am : a piece of conceptual and comparative analysis (1500 words). Deadline: Tuesday 17 January (Week 11, Lent term), 11am : + or - 2 marks.

TUTOR Professor Aristotle Kallis Office: Bowland B145 / email: HIST232 - Mass violence in the 20th century


Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you