Special Subject: Genocide B (V1371B)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

Raphael Lemkin invented the term and concept of genocide at the end of the Second World War. It was an attempt to intellectually grasp the horrors of what Churchill called a "crime without a name": the Shoah. In 1948, he succeeded in getting the U.N. General Assembly to ratify the Genocide Convention to prevent similar crimes in the future.

Since then, the concept of genocide has become a pivotal analytical tool in understanding the violent history of the 20th century. This module combines an in-depth analysis of various genocides with an investigation of genocide as a generic concept.

You’ll examine:

  • the international discussion leading up to the adoption of the Genocide Convention
  • how the Shoah shaped the content of the convention and guaranteed the necessary support at the General Assembly
  • case studies from the killing of the native population in British colonised Australia to Darfur
  • the social dynamics that lead to mass killings
  • the motivation of the perpetrators and the construction of the victim groups
  • various recent definitions of what constitutes genocide, exploring their merits and limitations and discussing alternative concepts.


100%: Seminar


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: