Roundtable Genocide Studies: Challenges and New Directions in Teaching about Genocide

AHA Session 197
Saturday, January 8, 2011: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 209 (Hynes Convention Center)
Eric D. Weitz, University of Minnesota
Eric D. Weitz, University of Minnesota

Session Abstract

This panel will analyze the development of genocide studies and address new directions and challenges in teaching comparative genocide. In the last decades, two professional journals and professional organizations have been founded and a series of resources tailored to teaching genocide. What are the challenges of teaching about genocide? What historical events are included and which excluded and why? The issue of whether we should teach about genocide given the range of definitions and biases will be discussed, pointing out  that the why of  teaching about certain historical events as genocidal determines how the course is designed. A number of different models and techniques will also be explored from the recurrent patterns of such historic atrocities to addressing denial in the classroom to the Genocide and Human Rights University Program now in its 10th year at the University of Toronto.  Should classroom techniques such as experiential learning or special assignments address the pressure by some students for activism? Future directions in genocide studies point to courses and research connecting genocide with issues of human rights, humanitarianism, development, environment and other issues. From transitional justice to studies of postgenocidal societies, research and teaching about genocide is expanding in new directions. Finally, whither genocide studies? To what extent, is it a viable field and area of teaching going forward?

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