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COURSE NAME: "Genocide"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Gabriele Simoncini
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 6:00-7:15 PM

The course examines such violent forms of identity politics as ethnic cleansing and genocide in an international and historical perspective. The program covers the genocides in Europe against the Jews and Roma, in Armenia, the Balkans, the Ukraine, Cambodia, Rwanda, and the Darfur region.
Ethnopolitics has been crucial in shaping politics and societies in recent time.  It is frequently at the heart of disputes of international importance.  The course covers different forms of identity politics including ethnopolitics, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, as manifested in the 20th and 21st centuries.  We consider the politics of identity within the historical perspective, and also set in the international context.  The program covers the Nazi and Communist genocides, European ethnic cleansing, and genocide including the cases of Armenia, Balkans, Ukraine, the Roma, Cambodia, Rwanda, and the Darfur region.  Other specific current case studies of genocide may be analyzed.  Conceptualizations, theories, and the scholarly debate related to genocide as a political phenomenon are covered in a comparative way.  Investigation of genocide across regions and time periods will be combined with the review of the debate about genocide’s definition, its development in these two centuries, patterns characterizing its occurrence, and hypothesized causes (whose identification can be controversial and difficult given the long historical run-up between causal agents and eventual ethnic hostilities).  Genocide is also analyzed as an international crime, together with the range of legal actions and Human Right Instruments presently addressing it.  A major objective is to examine the causes of genocide and how genocide might be prevented.  The class format  includes lectures, discussion, team work, presentations, and audiovisual materials.  The students will be asked to produce a research project, making extensive personal use of information and communication technology.  Guest speakers and field trips are planned.
Students will learn how to critically analyze processes and concepts related to ethnopolitics, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.  They will be able to relate politics, events, and players within the political arena.  Students will learn to contextualize and explain the process of identity politics and relate it to current international events.  Students will be capable of critical analysis applied to the changing realities of identity politics in a global context.  Students will develop an ability to conduct basic research, and organize and present their findings in a logical and independent way.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction.Jones A. London, 2017.9780415486194  
Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century.Valentino B.Ithaca, 2005.9780801472732  
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1917. Rummel R. J.Rutgers, 1996. 9781560008873  
Gulag. A History.Appelbaum A.Penguin, 2003.9780140283105  
Mein Kampf (The Ford Translation). Hitler A.Elite Minds, 2010.9780984158423  

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Modernity and the Holocaust.Bauman Z.Polity, 2001.9780801480324  
The Genocide Studies Reader.Totten S. (ed.)Routledge, 2009.9780415953955  
Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe.Lieberman B.London, 2006.9781442223196  
Crimes Against Humanity: A Beginner’s Guide.Jones A.Oneworld, 2009. 9781851686018  
Class Participation 10%
Midterm examThe midterm and final exam have the same format. The exams consist of two parts of equal value. The first part is an essay, the student will choose from one of three proposed themes, and will write a well-organized essay. The second part of the exam consists of ten terms to be concisely defined.20%
Presentation and other assignmentsIn-class Presentation: Students are required give a short individual or team presentation on a specific topic of their choice, approved by the instructor and related to the class program. The presentation will be well-organized, concise, and include (when opportune) audiovisual and electronic materials. A draft presentation must be submitted to the instructor before presenting in class. An electronic version of the presentation must be given to the instructor in class, in person, during any of the last three classes. Files send by email are not accepted. The deadline is the last class. No materials will be accepted past the deadline. 15%
Final examThe midterm and final exam have the same format. The exams consist of two parts of equal value. The first part is an essay, the student will choose from one of three proposed themes, and will write a well-organized essay. The second part of the exam consists of ten terms to be concisely defined.25%
Final project (with project proposal and portfolio)Final Project: The final paper (3,000 words) will be on any topic of the student’s choice related to the class program. The topic should be precisely defined and worthy of investigation. An electronic version of the project must be given to the instructor in class, in person, during any of the last three classes. Files sent by email are not accepted. The deadline is the last class. No materials will be accepted past the deadline. To produce the final project, students will receive written instructions in class. During the semester, students will show the instructor their final project work in progress and receive checks. Portfolio: In order to produce their final papers, students will keep a portfolio of research materials during the semester. The portfolio will be shared with, and evaluated by the instructor. The production of the final paper is a work in progress during the semester. The portfolio and the paper project are progressive steps toward completion of the final paper. A portfolio containing samples of reference materials must be attached to the final project.30%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cou
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

A maximum of four absences are allowed throughout the semester.  Any additional absence will result in a penalization of one grade level (e.g.: from B+ to B for five absences, B+ to B- for six absebces, B+ to C+ for seven absences, etc.).  Two latenesses count for one absence.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class by calling students’ names.  Students not answering will be marked absent. Students arrived late will ask the instructor to be market late at the end of the class, after which attendace records will not be modified.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Unit    1  Introduction.  Methodology.  Definitions.

(Aug. 28, 30)                                                                                                                                                                                       (assigned readings)

Unit    2  The Origins of Genocide.  Mass Killing and Genocide.  Comparative Genocide Studies.

(Sep. 4, 6)                                                                                                                                      (Jones, p.1-38; Valentino, p.1-29; assigned readings)

Unit    3  Colonial and Imperial Genocides.  War, and Social Revolution.  The Perpetrators and the Public.

(Sep. 11, 13)                                                                                                                               (Jones, p.39-63; Valentino, p.30-65; assigned readings)

Unit    4  State and Empire.  War and Revolution.  Genocide of Indigenous Peoples.  The Strategic Logic of Mass Killing.

(Sep. 18, 20, 22)                                                                                                                      (Jones, p.64-148; Valentino, p.66-90; assigned readings)

Unit    5  Rwanda.  The African Background to Genocide.  Genocidal Frenzy.  Congo.  Darfur.  Class Discussion.

(Sep. 25, 27)                                                                                                                      (Jones, p.346-379; Valentino, p.178-195; assigned readings)

Unit    6  The Armenian Genocide.  War, Massacre, and Deportation.  Imperial and National State.

(Oct. 2, 4*)                                                                                                                        (Jones, p.149-187; Valentino, p.152-166; assigned readings)


Unit    7  Blood Lands: Eastern Europe and Russia.  Migration, mass killing, war, revolution, insurrection, and pogrom.

(Oct. 9, 11)                                                                                                                                                                                          (assigned readings)

Unit    8
  Nazi Ideology, Regime and Society.  Hitler.  Anti-Judaism/Anti-Semitism.  Ordinary Germans and the Nazis.   

(Oct. 16, 18)                                                                                                                    (Jones, p. 233-253; Valentino, p. 166-170; assigned readings)

Unit    9  The Jewish Holocaust.  Discrimination, Ghettoization, Extermination.  Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Jewish Resistance.

(Oct. 23, 25*)                                                                                                                  (Jones, p. 254-282; Valentino, p. 170-178; assigned readings)


Unit    10 Communist Soviet Ideology, Regime and Society.  Collectivization and Famine.  Stalin’s Terror.  Gulag. Katyn.

(Oct. 30)                                                                                                                             (Jones, p. 188-203; Valentino, p. 91-117; assigned readings)

Unit    11 Case Study Discussion. Communist Chinese Ideology, Regime and Society.  China and Maoism.  Tibet. 

(Nov. 6, 8)                                                                                                                        (Jones, p. 204-232; Valentino, p. 117-132; assigned readings)

Unit  _12 Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge.  Bosnia and Kosovo.  Guatemala.  Afghanistan.  The Roma People.

(Nov. 13, 15)                                                                                                                    (Jones, p. 283-345; Valentino, p. 132-151; assigned readings)

Unit _ 13 The Future of Genocide.  Memory and Denial.  International Criminal Tribunals.  National Trials.

(Nov. 20, 22)                                                                                                                    (Jones, p. 501-542; Valentino, p. 196-233; assigned readings)

Unit _ 14 Justice and Truth.  Strategies of Intervention and Prevention.  Class Discussion.  Conclusion.

(Nov. 27, 29*)                                                                                                                  (Jones, p. 542-601; Valentino, p. 234-253; assigned readings)


(Dec. 1-7 tba*)         


Films/Audiovisual Materials Sessions:

(Monday Sep. 25 at 19:30)       “on Africa”

(Monday Oct. 23 at 19:30)       “on Armenians”

(Monday Nov.  6 at 19:30)       “on Shoah”

(Monday Nov. 13 at 19:30)       “on Communism”


The syllabus schedule may undergo reasonable changes in relation to guest speakers, field trips, make-ups, discussions, events, and other contingencies.