Editors' Introduction

Donald Bloxham and A. Dirk Moses

in The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199232116
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Editors' Introduction


This article describes the state of genocide studies, historicization, and causation, placing genocide into its historical context, and genocide in the world today. ‘Genocide’ is unfortunately ubiquitous, all too often literally in attempts at the destruction of human groups, but also rhetorically in the form of a word that is at once universally known and widely invoked. The comparative scholarship of genocide began with Raphael Lemkin and through the later Cold War period was continued by a small group of dedicated scholars. The discussion also opens the probing of the limits and the utility of the concept of genocide for historical understanding, and placing this crime back in its context that may often include mass non-genocidal violence. It also reflects on the debate about the relationship between individual acts of genocide and the wider political economy and norms of the worlds in which they occur.

Keywords: genocide studies; Raphael Lemkin; Cold War; mass violence; political economy

Article.  6618 words. 

Subjects: History ; Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

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