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These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Jewish Studies (J ST)

J ST 450H (PL SC 450H) Genocide and Tyranny (3) This course focuses on the conceptualization and socio-political determinants of genocide and tyrannical regimes, with an emphasis on the Holocaust.

J ST (PL SC) 450H Genocide and Tyranny (3)

This course focuses on the etiology of mass killing, with an emphasis on the socio-political determinants and consequences of massacres, ethnic cleansings, and other crimes against humanity. It is designed to help students understand genocide as a phenomenon of political violence and to explore the epistemological issues associated with the study of genocide. Students will learn to use the study of specific events (such as the Holocaust) to understand broader concepts and phenomena (in this case: genocide) as well as to develop analytical and communication skills through active discussion in class sessions.

The course is divided roughly into three parts: The objective of the introductory part of the course is to situate genocide as an act of political violence, and to create a working definition of the concept for the topics covered in subsequent weeks. In the second part various aspects of the Holocaust will be examined. Starting with a history of the Holocaust, we will cover philosophical, political, and military explanations for it. Some of the questions we will discuss in this part of the course include: (a) How does the Holocaust fit into the typologies of genocide? (b) Can extreme genocide that can be studied in a comparative context with the Holocaust? Does the “uniqueness” of the Holocaust influence the manner in which we study it? (c) Were the determinants of the Holocaust rooted in larger social and political factors? (d) Which contemporary political factors were associated with the Holocaust? During the last part of the course, we will discuss three other instances of genocidal violence: Armenia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. These events will be discussed using the same theoretical and analytical approaches as in the previous weeks. The concluding sessions will also focus on the questions of why it is important to study genocide, what lessons can be learned from understanding such events, and whether studying genocide is relevant to the current international system. Course topics will be discussed in light of assigned readings and films.

This course fulfills the distribution requirement for international relations, as well as the advanced and related course requirements for Political Science majors. The course fulfills the supporting course requirement for International Politics and Jewish Studies majors.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2015
Prerequisite: PL SC 003, PL SC 007 orPL SC 014 orHIST 121

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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