Jens Meierhenrich

in International Relations

ISBN: 9780199743292
Published online April 2012 | | DOI:


Genocide is a phenomenon that has confounded scholars and practitioners as well as ordinary readers. Notwithstanding the carnage of the 20th century, our understanding of genocide remains partial, not least because vocational, disciplinary, and methodological boundaries have inhibited intellectual progress. Popular, moralizing accounts about the contribution of “willing executioners” (Daniel Jonah Goldhagen) to the “problem from hell” (Samantha Power) have done their share to hinder understanding by advancing simple truths in an area where none are to be had. The goal of this bibliography is to deepen and broaden the intellectual foundations of genocide studies. Aimed primarily at scholars and students in the humanities and social sciences as well as general readers with an interest in collective violence, it is designed as an introduction to the myriad dimensions of this darkest of human phenomena, and to various ways of making sense of it—from autobiography to game theory. The collected contributions address—in widely divergent ways—fundamental questions in genocide studies: Whither conventional definitions of genocide? What role for alternative concepts? How powerful are existing theories of genocide? What role for memoirs, case studies, formal models, and data sets? Where have preventive efforts failed, where have they succeeded? Can genocide be predicted and prevented? To acquaint readers with the complexity of genocide—and outer boundaries of genocide studies—the bulk of this bibliography is organized around nine instantly recognizable themes that are central to study of the phenomenon: concepts: what is genocide?; causes: why does genocide occur?; courses: how does genocide unfold?; coverage: when is genocide reported?; consequences: what happens after genocide?; courts: who puts genocide on trial?; coping: can one come to terms with genocide?; compensation: who makes amends for genocide?; and cures: what can be done about genocide? Taken together, the aforementioned themes represent the phenomenon of genocide in all its complexity, drawing readers’ attention not only to contending explanations of genocidal campaigns (causes), but also to frequently overlooked differences in the conduct of these campaigns (courses) as well as to legal responses to the destruction, in whole or in part, of protected groups (courts). Moreover, the individual and social suffering of victims (consequences and coping) is a central concern, as is the ongoing debate over genocide forecasting and prevention (cures).

Article.  8150 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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