Weeks 1 & 2 Thoughts and Readings by aaron

‎”Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” – MLK, Jr.

As I sit here in my office on Martin Luther King, Jr day preparing for week 2 in our journey I’m struck at the transcendant power of MLK, Jr.  He spoke of injustice (everywhere), he spoke of racial inequalities, of morality but most importantly of humanity.  MLK and many other nonviolent soldiers for many causes use the power of communication for the most pure of motives.

As our course attempts to unwind the cultural, sociological, psychological and discursive reasons and processes that collude and precipitate genocide we see, as Jones (2006) writes “the abyss starring back at us.”  It is easy to be surgical and clinical even in the face of such atrocities as we study genocide.  It is easy to keep our discussion in the confines of the classroom.  It is easy to think of this problem as one of “theirs” or as a function of some lack of civility.  All of these, as we will learn in week 2, share the psychology of the genocidaires.

We must not think of perpetrators as “them” but we must investigate the motives, mechanisms and situational factors that allow for such terrible inhumanity. We must understand the stages that lead to genocide; recognize warning signs, stand against dehumanization and act against mobilization. For this, as Charny and Rapaport (1982) write, may someday allow us to prevent genocide from occurring.


Week 1 Readings:


Week 2 Readings:

  • Bell, H. (2011). Key issues associated with genocide. In Genocide (pp. 20). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
  • Charny, I., W. (2009). Israel W. charny, “the definition of genocide”. In S. Totten, & P. R. Bartrop (Eds.), The genocide studies reader (pp. 38). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Jones, A. (2006). Psychological perspectives. In Genocide: A comprehensive introduction (pp. 261). New York: Routledge.
  • Kimani, M. (2008). Chapter 9: RTLM: The medium that became a tool for mass murder. In (pp. 110-124) International Development Research Centre. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=50299894&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  • Kressel, N. J. (1999). Participation in mass atrocities: A social psychological perspective. JOURNAL OF PSYCHOHISTORY, 27, 165-179. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsbl&AN=RN075153296&site=eds-live&scope=site
  • Smith, R. W. (2009). Scarcity and genocide. In S. Totten, & P. R. Bartrop (Eds.), The genocide studies reader (pp. 120). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Stanton, G. H. (2009). The eight stages of genocide. In S. Totten, & P. R. Bartrop (Eds.), The genocide studies reader (pp. 127). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Staub, E. (2009). The origins of genocide and mass killing: Core concepts. In S. Totten, & P. R. Bartrop (Eds.), The genocide studies reader (pp. 97). New York, NY: Routledge.