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Armenian Genocide in comparative Context

Syllabus for one-year Distance learning course on Armenian Studies


Anahit Khosroeva, Ph.D, Associate Professor
Distance Learning Laboratory, Yerevan State University
Senior Researcher in the Department of 
Armenian Genocide Studies, Institute of History, 
National Academy of Sciences RA
Associate Professor in the Department for 
Middle Eastern Studies
North Park University of Chicago, US

I. Course module description
Genocide is one of humanity’s greatest and most enduring scourges. In the contemporary age, it provokes intense public interest and policy debate. However, the subject of genocide is also attended by considerable complexity, controversy, and ambiguity. 
During the 20th century—the “century of genocide—over thirty million civilians lost their lives as a consequence of genocidal violence. The ongoing conflicts in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as recent violence in Central Asia, suggest that the 21st century is threatening to go down the same path. However, unlike in 1914, in 2014 we have a word for this crime, legal instruments for prosecuting it, and an emerging consensus within the international community that its prevention must be a priority. The major question facing us today then is: How? How do we effectively identify potentially genocidal situations before hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives? An answer to this question will depend on how we understand the development of genocidal conditions over time. In this course we will seek to address the challenge of an “early warning system” through the historical study of modern genocide with an emphasis on the causes of genocidal processes, possible preventative measures, and social healing after the fact. Particular focus will be on the Jewish Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Darfur, but other cases will also be examined, including the genocides of indigenous populations during the era of European expansion, of Kurds in Iraq, of the political opposition in Argentina, of Mayan Indians in Guatemala, of East Timorese under Indonesian domination, and of Muslims in Kosovo. Using scholarly texts, fiction, film, and other media, we will discuss the definition of genocide and its representation, the long- and short-term historical contexts that enable genocide, the question of the uniqueness of the Holocaust and the value of "comparative genocide studies," the problem of prevention and intervention, and the relationship between genocide and other forms of social and political violence.
II. Aims of the course module
The course module aims to provide students with a conceptual and historical overview of genocide from a broad interdisciplinary perspective. It is designed for intermediate to advanced-level students. 
Part One of the course module provides an introduction to the subject and to genocide’s relationship with imperialism, war, and social revolution. A range of empirical case studies is then considered in
Part Two, along with some of the historical and philosophical debates they have sparked.
In Part Three, the course module moves to analyze social-scientific contributions to genocide studies.
These include contributions from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and gender studies.
Particular attention will be paid to political science and international relations.
The final section of the course module, Part Four, analyzes themes of memory and denial; mechanisms of justice and redress, including the evolving international law of genocide; and strategies of prevention and intervention.
It is anticipated that the students will emerge with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of genocide in the modern age. 
III. Course objectives and outcomes
Objective: To examine the nature of various forms of state genocide and its differential impact on victims vs. perpetrators.
Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate the issues surrounding various forms of state genocide and show the differences in impact for victims and perpetrators.
1. Objective: To examine the differences between the terms genocide, democide, ethnocide, and other forms of mass violence.
Outcomes: Students will be articulate definitions for the terms genocide, democide, ethnocide, and mass violence, and demonstrate the difficulties surrounding each definition.
2. Objective: To become more knowledgeable concerning the interaction of psychological, sociological, cultural, and/or political roots of evil, human cruelty, mass violence, and genocide.
Outcomes: Students will be able to demonstrate the interaction of factors that play potential causative roles in the perpetration of evil and human cruelty on an individual and collective basis (e.g. torture and genocide, respectively).
3. Objectives: To become familiar with a psychosocial theory of evil and the application of this theory to the perpetration of genocide and mass violence in Ottoman Turkey, Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur and various indigenous cultures.
Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate the theory and demonstrate how the theory can apply to the occurrences of mass violence/genocide in Turkey, Germany, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur and various indigenous cultures. Students will also be able to critique the theory and articulate ways that the theory falls short is discussing the previously sited instances of mass violence/genocide.
4. Objective: To examine the nature of bystander behavior and the impact of bystander behavior on the perpetration of genocide.
Outcomes: Students will be able to demonstrate the psychological and sociological research concerning bystander behavior and relate this research to the role of bystander behavior during the Holocaust, the genocides in Turkey, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and various indigenous cultures.
5. Objectives: To examine the question of what can be done to prevent human cruelty, mass violence, and genocide.
Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate several theories examining both prevention of human cruelty, mass violence, and genocide or intervention during instances of mass violence and genocide.
6. Objective: For students to be able to take all of the above information and apply it to a current or historical instance of individual and collective instance of human cruelty, mass violence, or genocide.
Outcomes: Students will be able to write a term paper analyzing a case of collective mass violence (genocide/democide etc.). 
IV. Texts and readings
• Adam Jones, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. Second edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.
• Samantha Power, ‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: 
• Basic Books, 2002).
• Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: Harper Collins, 1993).
• Ben Kiernan, The Pol Pot regime, Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the   Khmer Rouge 1975-1979, 2007.
• Scott Strauss, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda, 2006. 
• Nancy L. Clark and William H. Worger, South Africa: The Rise and Fall of Apartheid, 2004).
V. Methodology and assessment
Assessment of performance will be carried out through written assignments, specifically weekly essays and final research paper.
Performance of students will be evaluated as follows:
Weekly essays – 60%
Final research paper - 40%
VI. Course module program
Class 1. The Jewish Holocaust
• Introduction: the Holocaust in a comparative context — points of contention and consensus in the field.
• The role of ideology, the state, leaders, and war: necessary or sufficient conditions?
• Making professional killers: the mentality of the perpetrators and the dynamics of Destruction. 
• Chains of complicity: “ordinary people” as witnesses, beneficiaries, opponents, collaborators, resistors, and bystanders.
• Through the victims' eyes: struggles for life, dignity and memory.
Required readings:
• Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, chapter 6.
• Gerhard L. Weinberg, “The World Through Hitler's Eyes,” in Weinberg, Germany, 
  Hitler, and World War II: Essays in Modern German and World History (Cambridge: 
  Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 30-53.
• Testimony of Rivka Yosselevska, available at: 
• Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: Harper Collins, 1993), pp. xv-xx, 1-2, 55-77.
- FILM: “Partisans of Vilna”
Assignment 1. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages:
• What was the nature of European anti-semitism, and why did it arise? What is the link between such anti-semitism and the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews? Substantiate your answer.
• What was the attitude of "ordinary Germans" towards the Nazis' persecution of the Jews during the 1930s? 
• Why did the Nazis establish their network of death camps in Poland and not in Germany? Substantiate your answer.
• Is the Jewish Holocaust "uniquely unique"? Why?
Class 2. Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge
• Introduction.
• The process of distraction.
• Aftermath of the Genocide.
Required readings:
• Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, chapters 7 & 8, pp. 289-309.
• Alexander Laban Hinton, Why Did They Kill: Cambodia In the Shadow of Genocide (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2005), Chapter 4, “The DK Social Order,” pp. 182-210; Chapter 5, “Manufacturing Difference,” pp. 211-251. 
Recommended readings:
• Ben Kiernan, The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia Under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996).
Assignment 2. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages:
• What were the main features of Khmer Rouge ideology? Who were the principal targets of the regime? 
• What were the major mechanisms by which Cambodians were murdered between 1975 and 1979? 
• What were the similarities and differences between Democratic Kampuchea under the Khmer Rouge, and the Soviet system under Stalin? 
• How successful has the post-genocide quest for justice been in Cambodia? Substantiate your answer.
Class 3.  Genocide in the Former Yugoslavia
• Focusing on genocidal violence that gripped the former Yugoslav republics, in particular, Bosnia, Croatia, and southern Serbia (Kosovo) will begin with a meta-historical narrative of the region, emphasizing the following elements: communitarianism associated with the multi-national non-democratic states that have governed this region since the Middle Ages (Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and two Yugoslav states) and its role in shaping group identities and structuring inter-group relationships; the history of political violence in the region since the period of Ottoman decline; and the role of external actors as rulers, intervening powers, occupiers, etc. Special attention will be given to the place of the Balkans in the context of a regional system of international relations in east-central Europe, in which genocidal violence was becoming increasingly endemic in the first half of the 20th century.
• Then we will focus on the events in the 1990s, especially the nexus between the “local” and the “regional” on the one hand, and the “global” and the “international” on the other. With respect to the former, the following dimensions will be analyzed: the dynamic of state disintegration, ethno-territorial claims and struggles over sovereignty, demographic/population dynamics, and the ethnic security dilemmas. With respect to the latter, the seminar will emphasize the need to see the relations of global great powers, international institutions and the law to genocidal violence in the former Yugoslavia, both in terms of how they enter into the production of genocide, as well as in terms of various responses to genocide. 
Required readings:
• Tomislav Dulic, “Mass killing in the Independent State of Croatia, 1941-1945: a case for 
  comparative research,” Journal of Genocide Research, 8:3 (2006): 255-281.
• Marko Attila Hoare, “Genocide in the Former Yugoslavia before and after Communism,” 
  Europe-Asia Studies, 62:7 (2010): 1193-1214.
Recommended readings:
• Maja Catic, “A Tale of Two Reconciliations: Germans and Jews after World War II and Bosnia after Dayton,” Genocide Studies and Prevention, 3:2 (2008): 213-242.
• Tomislav Dulic and Roland Kostic, “Yugoslavs in Arms: Guerilla Tradition, Total Defence and the Ethnic Security Dilemma,” Europe-Asia Studies, 62:7 (2010): 1051-1072.
• Paul B. Miller, “Contested memories: the Bosnian Genocide in Serb and Muslims Minds,” Journal of Genocide Research, 8:3 (2006): 311-324.
• William Schabas, “Genocide and the International Court of Justice: Finally, a Duty to Prevent the Crime of Crimes,” Genocide Studies and Prevention, 2:2 (2007): 101-122.
• Andrew J. Slack and Roy R. Doyon, “Population Dynamics and Susceptibility for Ethnic 
Conflict: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Journal of Peace Research, 38:3 (2001): 139-161.
Assignment 3. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages:
• What are the historical origins of the Yugoslav state? What occurred in Yugoslavia during World War Two, and how did it factor in the outbreak of mass violence in the 1990s? 
• In what ways was the campaign in Kosovo in 1998-99 similar to the Serbs' genocidal strategy in Bosnia? Substantiate your answer.
• Do you think the Serbs' war against Kosovar Albanians should be considered a genocide? Why?
• How successful has the post-genocide quest for justice been in the territories of the former Yugoslavia? 
Class 4. Genocide in Rwanda & Darfur 
• Rwanda Genocide history.
• The situation in Darfur, both historically and today, including the independence of Southern Sudan and the crisis in the Nuba Mountains.
• Does history teach any lessons?
• Possible lessons from Rwanda, role of media-role of international community, 
  role of Security Council, the “next Rwanda.”
• The emergence of the Darfur crisis—Is this a genocide? Does the name or label matter? Role of the media.
• Security Council, the consequences of oil and the “war on terror.”
• “Rwanda in slow motion”, the “Responsibility to Protect,” the question of 
   national interests and political will.
Required readings:
• Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, chapter 9, box text 9a.
• Scott Straus, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2006. Introduction, pp. 1-16; Chapter 1, pp. 17-40;    Chapter 6, pp. 153-174.
• Rene Lemarchand, “Unsimplifying Darfur.” Genocide Studies and Prevention, 1, no. 1 (Summer 2006): 1-12.
• Kelly Dawn Askin, “Holding Leaders Accountable.” Genocide Studies and Prevention, 1, no. 1 (Summer 2006): 13-28.
• Jerry Fowler, “A New Chapter of Irony: The Legal Implications of the Darfur Genocide Determination.” Genocide Studies and Prevention, 1, no. 1  (Summer 2006): 29-39.
Recommended readings:
• Romeo Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Toronto: Random House, 2003).
• Sam Totten and Rafiki Ubaldo, We Cannot Forget: Interviews with Survivors of the 
  1994 Genocide in Rwanda (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011).
 - FILM “Hotel Rwanda”
Assignment 4. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages:
• What was the essence of the "Hutu Power" ideology advanced by extremists within the Rwandan regime? Substantiate your answer.
• What was the impact of the invasion of Rwanda by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)? Do you think the RPF should be credited with having stopped the genocide, or blamed for having helped to trigger it? 
• What would you have done differently? Why and to what extent an intervention was eventually mounted? Substantiate your answer.
• Analyse the role of ordinary Hutus in perpetrating the Rwandan holocaust. 
• How successful have post-genocide efforts at justice and reconciliation been in Rwanda? 

Class 5.  Genocide Denial and Psychological Trauma of Genocide 
• What is genocide denial, why does it occur, how does it work, what are its goals and effects, what are the patterns of denial.
• Why is it successful in some cases but not in others, and how can genocide denial be overcome? We shall examine the theoretical principles of denial, the motivations of deniers, and the controversy over criminalizing genocide denial vs. freedom of expression, using several case studies.
• Genocides are geopolitical and historical events with devastating physical, psychological, and socio-cultural consequences for those who are victimized. The focus of this unit will be on the “human dimension” of genocide – on the survivors’ experience of trauma – with particular emphasis on the immediate and long-term psychosocial impact on women and children survivors and their descendents.
Required readings:
• Taner Akçam, “The Genocide and Turkey,” in From Empire to Republic: Turkey and 
the Armenian Genocide (London: Zed Books, 2004), pp. 226-242.
• Henry Huttenbach, “The Psychology and Politics of Genocide Denial: A Comparison of 
Four Case Studies,” in Levon Chorbajian and George Shirinian, eds., Studies in Comparative Genocide (London: Macmillan, 1999), pp. 216-229.
• Adam Jones, “Memory, Forgetting and Denial,” in Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, pp. 501-531.
• Roger W. Smith, “Denial of the Armenian Genocide,” in Israel W. Charny, ed., Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, Vol. 2. (New York: Facts On File, 1991), pp. 63-85.
• Roger W. Smith, “Review of Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman, Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 16, no. 2 (Fall 2002): 321-322.
• Adam Jones, “Psychological Perspectives,” in Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, pp. 383-422.
• Adam Jones, “Gendering Genocide,” in Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, pp. 464-498.
Recommended readings:
• Gerald Caplan, “Memory and Denial: The Rwandan Genocide Fifteen Years On.” Pambazuka News, no. 146 (April 2, 2009) 
• Helen Fein, “Denying Genocide from Armenia to Bosnia: A Lecture Delivered at the London School of Economics and Political Science on 22 January  2001.” Occasional Papers in Comparative and International Politics, 2001.
• Deborah E. Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (New York: Plume, 1993).
• Deborah E. Lipstadt, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving (New York: ECCO, 2005).
• Roger W. Smith, Eric Markusen, and Robert Jay Lifton, “Professional Ethics and the Denial of the Armenian Genocide.” Holocaust and Genocide  Studies 9, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 1-22; reprinted in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1999), pp. 271-295.
Assignment 5. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages: 
• Do you think it is legitimate to talk of "collective pathological narcissism"?  Why?
• Analyse the difference between "mortal terror" and "existential dread." How do they contribute to genocide? What is the phenomenon of psychological  projection? 
• Why is humiliation such a central factor in genocide? Can you think of examples where humiliation has fuelled anger or rage in your own life? 
• Do you think denials statements and hate speech should be banned? How might they be discouraged or marginalized, short of outright suppression? Substantiate your answer.

Class 6.  The Future of Genocide
Justice, Truth, and Redress.
Required readings:
• Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, chapter 15.
• Geoffrey Robertson, QC, “The International Criminal Court,” ch. 9 in Robertson, Crimes
   Against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice (New York: The New Press, 2000), pp. 324-367.
Assignment 6. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages: 
• Can one reasonably talk about seeking “justice” in cases of genocide?
• Do you think the Allied powers can be accused of hypocrisy in their handling of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals? Substantiate your answer.
• Do you think the International Criminal Court will serve as an important bulwark against genocide and other crimes against humanity? Substantiate your answer.
• Are truth commissions always a desirable feature of post-genocide situations? How successful have they been in promoting reconciliation after genocide and mass conflict? 

Class 7.  International Law and Genocide
  Development of the legal concept of genocide:
• Raphael Lemkin. 
• International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg). 
• GA Resolution 96(I). 
• 1948 Genocide Convention. 
• The Eichmann trial. 
• International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. 
• International Criminal Court.
• Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. 
Required readings:
• Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of Major War Criminals of the European Axis, and Establishing the Charter of the International Military Tribunal (I.M.T.).
• Draft resolution on genocide presented to United Nations General Assembly. 
• General Assembly Resolution 96(I). 
• Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
• A.-G. Israel v. Eichmann (District Court, Jerusalem) (excerpts).
• Revised and updated report on the question of the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, Prepared by Mr. B. Whitaker.
• Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
• Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General.
• Declaration on Prevention of Genocide, Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
• International Court of Justice, Case Concerning the Application of the Crime of Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and   Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), Feb. 26, 2007.
• Genocide Prevention Task Force, Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers (Washington, DC: American Academy of Diplomacy, United Holocaust Memorial Museum, and United States Institute of Peace, 2008), pp. xxi-xxii. 
Assignment 7. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages:
• How has war changed in the contemporary era, especially after the end of the Cold War? How has the rise of "new wars" fuelled genocide around the world, especially in Africa? Substantiate your answer.
• What is the relationship between democracy and genocide? Are democratic regimes inherently less likely to commit genocide at home or abroad? 
• What are "norms," "norm grafting," and "prohibition regimes"? How do you evaluate the strength of the anti-genocide prohibition regime today? Substantiate your answer. 
Class 8. Closing exam
Based on your interest, please choose any topic discussed withing this course module and elaborate analytic research paper (10-12 pages). 
Դուք այստեղ եք: Ուսումնական ծրագրեր Հայագիտություն Armenian Genocide in comparative Context