Genocide, massacre, extermination, ethnic cleansing - are they all the same? Should we attempt to distinguish? This topic examines the historical phenomenon of deliberate mass killing, outside of conventional warfare. It seeks to explain why instances of mass killing have occurred by placing them in their historical context. In dealing with the theoretical issues of definition and comparison, presenting a number of case studies and explanatory frameworks, the course introduces students to a wide range of historical debates, as well as to contemporary issues of memory, prevention, denial, prosecution, intervention, categorisation and reconciliation. Students are encouraged to address the deeper historical question with regard to deaths in history: in explaining them and the circumstances that surrounded them, are we justifying the killings themselves? Students will study mass killing in revolution (French) and in post-revolutionary political purges; in the pursuit of Empire; during the end of Empire; and in the post-colonial settings. Use of documentaries and images will be frequent, but the topic will avoid being excessively gory, with the construction and examination of the historical circumstances of each case being the main aim.
This topic aims to:
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