How Holocausts Happen: The History and Sociology of Genocide
This course helps students develop a sociological and historical understanding of the societal processes that lead to genocidal movements. We analyze the antecedents and processes of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany as well as study the societal preconditions of genocidal episodes in other societies, from ancient, to medieval, to modern times. A key focus of this course is on the differences between modern genocides (like the Holocaust and the genocide of the Armenians in WWI) and pre-modern cases (such as the strategies of Genghis Khan, Shaka Zulu, and colonial regimes in the New World). As a capstone seminar, this course is collaborative in nature and students integrate diverse disciplinary understandings as they reflect on the continuation of genocidal processes in the world today. The comparative study of genocide is interesting and relevant for students in a range of majors other than sociology, including anthropology, history, international relations, political science, philosophy and economics.