School of History, Art History and Philosophy

Genocide (V1371)

Special Subject: Genocide

Module V1371

Module details for 2012/13.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

Genocide, the term and the concept, was invented by Raphael Lemkin at the end of the Second World War in an attempt to intellectually grasp the horrors of what Churchill called a "crime without a name": the Shoah. And it was Raphael Lemkin who in 1948 succeeded to get the U.N. General Assembly to ratify the Genocide Convention to prevent similar crimes in the future. Since then not only the term became widely used in public and in academic scholarship describing mass murders as far back as the Assyrian Empire, but the practice, too, did not come to an end with the Shoah turning the concept of genocide into a pivotal analytical tool in understanding the violent history of the 20th century.
The module will combine an in-depth analysis of various genocides with an investigation of genocide as a generic concept. In the first part, the module examines the international discussion leading up to the adoption of the Genocide Convention and the Shoah as the event which not only shaped the specific content of the convention but also guaranteed the necessary support at the General Assembly. In the second part case studies ranging from the killing of the native population in British colonised Australia to Darfur are analysed focussing mainly but not only on the social dynamics that lead to the mass killings, the motivation of the perpetrators and the construction of the victim groups. In the last part, the module examines and contrasts various recent definitions of what constitutes genocide exploring their merits and limitations and discusses alternative concepts.

Module learning outcomes

Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a closely defined topic.

Situate, evaluate and analyse primary historical sources.

Relate the interpretation of primary sources to secondary interpretations.

Construct sophisticated written arguments that demonstrate intellectual maturity and integrity.

Provide a coherent oral expression of their views.

Unseen ExaminationEnd of Year Assessment40.00%
Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
ExerciseT2 Week 7 50.00%
EssayA1 Week 1 50.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Autumn SemesterSeminar2 hours111111111111
Spring SemesterSeminar2 hours111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr Gerhard Wolf

Convenor, Assess convenor

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