Mass Murder Prevention in Failed and Failing States

IWP 649
Four credits

This seminar concentrates on genocide and genocide prevention in the 20th and 21st centuries. We shall commence by examining legal and cultural definitions of nations and of genocide (Rafal Lemkin’s theory). Next, we shall briefly examine genocide in history, starting with the Biblical Times, including the Assyrians, and ending with the Revolution in France, the Vandean auto-genocide in particular. Then, we shall describe various instances of genocide, including the Armenian massacres, the Ukrainian famine, the Jewish Holocaust, the Soviet and Nazi “ordinary terror” against Catholic Polish elite and people, grass-roots ethnic cleansing campaigns in the Ukraine during the Second World War, state-mandated ethnic cleansing of the German population in the wake of World War II, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans in the 1940s and 1990s, self-genocide in China and Cambodia, as well as the massacres in Rwanda and Darfur. In the context of extermination, we shall also discuss mass deportations, expropriations, and cultural genocide.

The objective is to conduct case studies of genocide, identify ideological and political reasons for those crimes, and detect early warning signs for genocide prevention.

Semester Available


Fall Semester

Principal Professor


   Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Professor of History, The Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies {read more}