PSYC 3275 & HRTS 3600:


Course Description:

We live in a time of unparalleled instances of democide, genocide and ethnocide. In fact, Rummel (2007) estimated that political violence such as genocide resulted in the deaths of approximately 262 million. Indeed, the 20th century was so bloody that Powers (2002) entitled it the "Century of Genocide." Unfortunately, the advent of the 21st century did not usher in a century of peace. Genocidal violence continues unabated in regions such as the Nuba Mountains, Central Africa, and Myanmar. Of course, these statistics underestimate the additional toll on human life from physical and psychological scarring.

Although most individuals are aware of the Holocaust (although they often do not realize the extent of the brutality and actual cost in terms of human life), many are not aware of other past genocides/democides or of current genocides/democides. For example, many individuals remain unaware of the Armenian genocide in Turkey, the killing fields of Cambodia, the disappearances in Argentina & Chile, the death squad killings in El Salvador, or Stalin's purges. Many are unaware of recent events that have resulted in genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda/Burundi, and Darfur or the extreme violations of human rights and genocidal policies by the governments of China (including Tibet), Myanmar (Burma), Laos, and Indonesia (including the genocide of the East Timorese).

The Holocaust, the genocides in Turkey, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur . . . the disappearances in Argentina, the death squad killings in El Salvador, . . . violence, torture, the mistreatment of human beings . . . . All of these raise questions about extreme political violence. In this course, we will examine the psychological, cultural, and societal roots of human cruelty, mass violence, and genocide. We will examine the questions of what enables individuals collectively and individually to perpetrate evil/genocide and examine the impact of apathetic bystanders on human violence.

Course Information:

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