Acts of Repair explores how ordinary people grapple with decades of political violence and genocide in Argentina—a history that includes the Holocaust, the political repression of the 1976–1983 dictatorship, and the 1994 AMIA bombing. Although the struggle against impunity seems inevitably incomplete, Argentines have created possibilities for repair through cultural memory, yielding spaces for transformation and agency critical to personal and political recovery.
In the wake of unthinkable atrocities, it is reasonable to ask how any population can move on from the experience of genocide. Simply remembering the past can, in the shadow of mass death, be retraumatizing. So how can such momentous events be memorialized in a way that is productive and even healing for survivors? Genocide memorials tell a story about the past, preserve evidence of the violence that occurred, and provide emotional support to survivors. But the goal of amplifying survivors’ voices can fade amid larger narratives entrenched in political motivations.
In After Genocide,Nicole Fox investigates the ways memorials can shape the experiences of survivors decades after mass violence has ended. She examines how memorializations can both heal and hurt, especially when they fail to represent all genders, ethnicities, and classes of those afflicted. Drawing on extensive interviews with Rwandans, Fox reveals their relationships to these spaces and uncovers those voices silenced by the dominant narrative—arguing that the erasure of such stories is an act of violence itself. The book probes the ongoing question of how to fit survivors in to the dominant narrative of healing and importantly demonstrates how memorials can shape possibilities for growth, national cohesion, reconciliation, and hope for the future.
During Stalin's Great Terror, more than a million Soviet citizens were arrested or killed for political crimes they did not commit. Who carried out these purges, and what motivated them? Alexander Vatlin opens up the world of the Soviet perpetrators using detailed evidence from one Moscow suburb. Spurred by ambition or fear, local secret police rushed to fulfill quotas for arresting "enemies of the people"—even when it meant fabricating evidence. Vatlin confronts head-on issues of historical agency and moral responsibility in Stalin-era crimes.
During the 1990s and early 2000s in Europe, more than fifty historical commissions were created to confront, discuss, and document the genocide of the Holocaust and to address some of its unresolved injustices. Amending the Past offers the first in-depth account of these commissions, examining the complexities of reckoning with past atrocities and large-scale human rights violations.
Alexander Karn analyzes more than a dozen Holocaust commissions—in Germany, Switzerland, France, Poland, Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, and elsewhere—in a comparative framework, situating each in the context of past and present politics, to evaluate their potential for promoting justice and their capacity for bringing the perspectives of rival groups more closely together. Karn also evaluates the media coverage these commissions received and probes their public reception from multiple angles.
Arguing that historical commissions have been underused as a tool for conflict management, Karn develops a program for historical mediation and moral reparation that can deepen democratic commitment and strengthen human rights in both transitional regimes and existing liberal states.
In 1998 David Kruiper, the leader of the ‡Khomani San who today live in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa, lamented, “We have been made into nothing.” His comment applies equally to the fate of all the hunter-gatherer societies of the Cape Colony who were destroyed by the impact of European colonialism. Until relatively recently, the extermination of the Cape San peoples has been treated as little more than a footnote to South African narratives of colonial conquest.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Dutch-speaking pastoralists who infiltrated the Cape interior dispossessed its aboriginal inhabitants. In response to indigenous resistance, colonists formed mounted militia units known as commandos with the express purpose of destroying San bands. This ensured the virtual extinction of the Cape San peoples. In The Anatomy of a South African Genocide, Mohamed Adhikari examines the history of the San and persuasively presents the annihilation of Cape San society as genocide.
Sophocles' play Antigone is a starting point for understanding the perpetual problems of human societies, families, and individuals who are caught up in the terrible aftermath of mass violence. What is one to do after the killing has stopped? What can be done to prevent a round of new violence? The tragic and dramatic tension in the play is put in motion by setting an unyielding Antigone against King Creon. As we see through the investigation of how Germany, Japan, Spain, Yugoslavia and Turkey have dealt with their histories of mass violence and genocide in the 20th century, the forces represented by Antigone and Creon remain very much part of our world today. Through a comparison of the five countries, their political institutions, and cultural traditions, we begin to appreciate the different pathways that societies have taken when confronting their violent histories.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Apocalypse Never illuminates why we must abolish nuclear weapons, how we can, and what the world will look like after we do. The twenty-first century has ushered in a world at the atomic edge. The pop culture days of Dr. Strangelove have been replaced by the all-too-real single day of 24. Tad Daley has written a book for the general reader about this most crucial of contemporary challenges.
Apocalypse Never maintains that the abolition of nuclear weapons is both essential and achievable, and reveals in fine detail what we need to do--both governments and movements--to make it a reality. Daley insists that while global climate change poses the single greatest long-term peril to the human race, the nuclear challenge in its many incarnation--nuclear terror, nuclear accident, a nuclear crisis spinning out of control--poses the single most immediate peril. Daley launches a wholesale assault on the nuclear double standard--the notion that the United States permits itself thousands of these weapons but forbids others from aspiring to even one--insisting that it is militarily unnecessary, morally indefensible, and politically unsustainable. He conclusively repudiates the most frequent objection to nuclear disarmament, "the breakout scenario"--the possibility that after abolition someone might whip back the curtain, reveal a dozen nuclear warheads, and proceed to "rule the world."
On the wings of a brand new era in American history, Apocalypse Never makes the case that a comprehensive nuclear policy agenda from President Obama, one that fully integrates nonproliferation with disarmament, can both eliminate immediate nuclear dangers and set us irreversibly on the road to abolition. In jargon-free language, Daley explores the possible verification measures, enforcement mechanisms, and governance structures of a nuclear weapon-free world. Most importantly, he decisively argues that universal nuclear disarmament is something we can transform from a utopian fantasy into a concrete political goal.
A Turk’s discovery that Armenians once thrived in his hometown leads to a groundbreaking investigation into the local dynamics of genocide.
Ümit Kurt, born and raised in Gaziantep, Turkey, was astonished to learn that his hometown once had a large and active Armenian community. The Armenian presence in Aintab, the city’s name during the Ottoman period, had not only been destroyed—it had been replaced. To every appearance, Gaziantep was a typical Turkish city.
Kurt digs into the details of the Armenian dispossession that produced the homogeneously Turkish city in which he grew up. In particular, he examines the population that gained from ethnic cleansing. Records of land confiscation and population transfer demonstrate just how much new wealth became available when the prosperous Armenians—who were active in manufacturing, agricultural production, and trade—were ejected. Although the official rationale for the removal of the Armenians was that the group posed a threat of rebellion, Kurt shows that the prospect of material gain was a key motivator of support for the Armenian genocide among the local Muslim gentry and the Turkish public. Those who benefited most—provincial elites, wealthy landowners, state officials, and merchants who accumulated Armenian capital—in turn financed the nationalist movement that brought the modern Turkish republic into being. The economic elite of Aintab was thus reconstituted along both ethnic and political lines.
The Armenians of Aintab draws on primary sources from Armenian, Ottoman, Turkish, British, and French archives, as well as memoirs, personal papers, oral accounts, and newly discovered property-liquidation records. Together they provide an invaluable account of genocide at ground level.
In the aftermath of the genocide, the Rwandan government has attempted to use the education system in order to sustain peace and shape a new generation of Rwandans. Their hope is to create a generation focused on a unified and patriotic future rather than the ethnically divisive past. Yet, the government’s efforts to manipulate global models around citizenship, human rights, and reconciliation to serve its national goals have had mixed results, with new tensions emerging across social groups. Becoming Rwandan argues that although the Rwandan government utilizes global discourses in national policy documents, the way in which teachers and students engage with these global models distorts the intention of the government, resulting in unintended consequences and undermining a sustainable peace.
Beyond Repair? explores Mayan women’s agency in the search for redress for harm suffered during the genocidal violence perpetrated by the Guatemalan state in the early 1980s at the height of the thirty-six-year armed conflict. The book draws on eight years of feminist participatory action research conducted with fifty-four Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, Chuj, and Mam women who are seeking truth, justice, and reparation for the violence they experienced during the war, and the women’s rights activists, lawyers, psychologists, Mayan rights activists, and researchers who have accompanied them as intermediaries for over a decade. Alison Crosby and M. Brinton Lykes use the concept of “protagonism” to deconstruct dominant psychological discursive constructions of women as “victims,” “survivors,” “selves,” “individuals,” and/or “subjects.” They argue that at different moments Mayan women have been actively engaged as protagonists in constructivist and discursive performances through which they have narrated new, mobile meanings of “Mayan woman,” repositioning themselves at the interstices of multiple communities and in their pursuit of redress for harm suffered.
How can memory be mobilized for social justice? How can images and monuments counter public forgetting? And how can inherited family and cultural traumas be channeled in productive ways?
In this deeply personal work, acclaimed art historian Dora Apel examines how memorials, photographs, artworks, and autobiographical stories can be used to fuel a process of “unforgetting”—reinterpreting the past by recalling the events, people, perspectives, and feelings that get excluded from conventional histories. The ten essays in Calling Memory into Place feature explorations of the controversy over a painting of Emmett Till in the Whitney Biennial and the debates about a national lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. They also include personal accounts of Apel’s return to the Polish town where her Holocaust survivor parents grew up, as well as the ways she found strength in her inherited trauma while enduring treatment for breast cancer.
These essays shift between the scholarly, the personal, and the visual as different modes of knowing, and explore the intersections between racism, antisemitism, and sexism, while suggesting how awareness of historical trauma is deeply inscribed on the body. By investigating the relations among place, memory, and identity, this study shines a light on the dynamic nature of memory as it crosses geography and generations.
2017 Wiener Library Ernst Fraenkel Prize (WLEFP) Finalist
The majority of European Jewish children alive in 1939 were murdered during the Holocaust. Of 1.5 million children, only an estimated 150,000 survived. In the aftermath of the Shoah, efforts by American Jews brought several thousand of these child survivors to the United States. In Child Survivors of the Holocaust, historian Beth B. Cohen weaves together survivor testimonies and archival documents to bring their story to light. She reveals that even as child survivors were resettled and “saved,” they struggled to adapt to new lives as members of adoptive families, previously unknown American Jewish kin networks, or their own survivor relatives. Nonetheless, the youngsters moved ahead. As Cohen demonstrates, the experiences both during and after the war shadowed their lives and relationships through adulthood, yet an identity as “survivors” eluded them for decades. Now, as the last living link to the Holocaust, the voices of Child Survivors are finally being heard.
Why do people participate in genocide? Timothy Williams presents an interdisciplinary model that shows how complex and diverse, but also how ordinary and mundane most motivations for participating in genocide are. The book draws on empirical examples from the Holocaust and Rwanda and introduces new data from interviews with perpetrators of genocide in Cambodia.
In the third issue of the J. Paul Getty Trust Occasional Papers in Cultural Heritage Policy series, authors Helen Frowe and Derek Matravers pivot from the earlier tone of the series in discussing the appropriate response to attacks on cultural heritage with their paper, “Conflict and Cultural Heritage: A Moral Analysis of the Challenges of Heritage Protection.” While Frowe and Matravers acknowledge the importance of cultural heritage, they assert that we must more carefully consider the complex moral dimensions—the inevitable serious consequences to human beings—before formulating policy to forcefully protect it.
A number of writers and thinkers working on the problem of preserving the world’s most treasured monuments, sites, and objects today cite what Frowe and Matravers call extrinsic and intrinsic justifications for the protection of cultural heritage. These are arguments that maintain that protecting heritage will be a key means to achieve other important goals, like the prevention of genocide, or arguments that heritage deserves to be forcefully protected for its own sake. Frowe and Matravers deconstruct both types of justifications, demonstrating a lack of clear evidence for a causal relationship between the destruction of cultural heritage and atrocities like genocide and arguing that the defense of heritage must not be treated with the same weight or urgency, or according to the same international policies, as the defense of human lives.
By calling for expanded theory and empirical data and the consideration of morality in the crafting of international policy vis-à-vis cultural heritage protection, Frowe and Matravers present a thoughtful critique that enriches this important series and adds to the ongoing dialogue in the field.
In the late 1960s, between one and two million people were killed by Indonesian president Suharto's army in the name of suppressing communism-and more than fifty years later, the issue of stigmatisation is still relevant for many victims of the violence and their families. The End of Silence presents the stories of these individuals, revealing how many survivors from the period have been so strongly affected by the strategy used by Suharto and his Western allies that these survivors, still afraid to speak out, essentially serve to maintain the very ideology that led to their persecution.
Today, nearly any group or nation with violence in its past has constructed or is planning a memorial museum as a mechanism for confronting past trauma, often together with truth commissions, trials, and/or other symbolic or material reparations. Exhibiting Atrocity documents the emergence of the memorial museum as a new cultural form of commemoration, and analyzes its use in efforts to come to terms with past political violence and to promote democracy and human rights.
Through a global comparative approach, Amy Sodaro uses in-depth case studies of five exemplary memorial museums that commemorate a range of violent pasts and allow for a chronological and global examination of the trend: the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC; the House of Terror in Budapest, Hungary; the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda; the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile; and the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York. Together, these case studies illustrate the historical emergence and global spread of the memorial museum and show how this new cultural form of commemoration is intended to be used in contemporary societies around the world.
In April 1994 Rwanda exploded in violence, with political, social, and economic divisions most visible along ethnic lines of the Hutu and Tutsi factions. The ensuing killings resulted in the deaths of as much as 20 percent of Rwanda's population. André Guichaoua, who was present as the genocide began, unfolds a complex story with multiple actors, including three major political parties that each encompassed a spectrum of positions, all reacting to and influencing a rapidly evolving situation. Economic polarities, famine-fueled privation, clientelism, corruption, north-south rivalries, and events in the neighboring nations of Burundi and Uganda all deepened ethnic tensions, allowing extremists to prevail over moderates.
Guichaoua draws on years of meticulous research to describe and analyze this history. He emphasizes that the same virulent controversies that fueled the conflict have often influenced judicial, political, and diplomatic responses to it, reproducing the partisan cleavages between the former belligerents and implicating state actors, international institutions, academics, and the media. Guichaoua insists upon the imperative of absolute intellectual independence in pursuing the truth about some of the gravest human rights violations of the twentieth century.
Human Rights after Hitler reveals thousands of forgotten US and Allied war crimes prosecutions against Hitler and other Axis war criminals based on a popular movement for justice that stretched from Poland to the Pacific. These cases provide a great foundation for twenty-first-century human rights and accompany the achievements of the Nuremberg trials and postwar conventions. They include indictments of perpetrators of the Holocaust made while the death camps were still operating, which confounds the conventional wisdom that there was no official Allied response to the Holocaust at the time.
This history also brings long overdue credit to the United Nations’ War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), which operated during and after World War II. Dan Plesch describes the commission’s work and Washington’s bureaucratic obstruction to a 1944 proposal to prosecute crimes against humanity before an international criminal court.
From the 1940s until a recent lobbying effort by Plesch and colleagues, the UNWCC’s files were kept out of public view in the UN archives under pressure from the US government. The book answers why the commission and its files were closed and reveals that the lost precedents set by these cases have enormous practical utility for prosecuting war crimes today. They cover US and Allied prosecutions of torture, including “water treatment,” wartime sexual assault, and crimes by foot soldiers who were “just following orders.” Plesch’s book will fascinate anyone with an interest in the history of the Second World War as well as provide ground-breaking revelations for historians and human rights practitioners alike.
Abducted at the age of eleven, Evelyn Amony spent nearly eleven years inside the Lord’s Resistance Army, becoming a forced wife to Joseph Kony and mother to his children. She takes the reader into the inner circles of LRA commanders and reveals unprecedented personal and domestic details about Joseph Kony. Her account unflinchingly conveys the moral difficulties of choosing survival in a situation fraught with violence, threat, and death.
Amony was freed following her capture by the Ugandan military. Despite the trauma she endured with the LRA, Amony joined a Ugandan peace delegation to the LRA, trying to convince Kony to end the war that had lasted more than two decades. She recounts those experiences, as well as the stigma she and her children faced when she returned home as an adult.
This extraordinary testimony shatters stereotypes of war-affected women, revealing the complex ways that Amony navigated life inside the LRA and her current work as a human rights advocate to make a better life for her children and other women affected by war.
Best books for public & secondary school libraries from university presses, American Library Association
After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, victims, perpetrators, and the country as a whole struggled to deal with the legacy of the mass violence. The government responded by creating a new version of a traditional grassroots justice system called gacaca. Bert Ingelaere offers a comprehensive assessment of what these courts set out to do, how they worked, what they achieved, what they did not achieve, and how they affected Rwandan society. Weaving together vivid firsthand recollections, interviews, and trial testimony with systematic analysis, he documents how the gacaca shifted over time from confession to accusation, from restoration to retribution. This is an authoritative account of one of the most important experiments in transitional justice after mass violence.
Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer once described Dr. Leon Thorne’s memoir as a work of “bitter truth” that he compared favorably to the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Proust. Out of print for over forty years, this lost classic of Holocaust literature now reappears in a revised, annotated edition, including both Thorne’s original 1961 memoir Out of the Ashes: The Story of a Survivor and his previously unpublished accounts of his arduous postwar experiences in Germany and Poland.
Rabbi Thorne composed his memoir under extraordinary conditions, confined to a small underground bunker below a Polish peasant’s pigsty. But, It Will Yet Be Heard is remarkable not only for the story of its composition, but also for its moral clarity and complexity. A deeply religious man, Rabbi Thorne bore witness to forced labor camps, human degradation, and the murders of entire communities. And once he emerged from hiding, he grappled not only with survivor’s guilt, but also with the lingering antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence in Poland even after the war ended. Harrowing, moving, and deeply insightful, Rabbi Thorne’s firsthand account offers a rediscovered perspective on the twentieth century’s greatest tragedy.
Diaries, testimonies and memoirs of the Holocaust often include at least as much on the family as on the individual. Victims of the Nazi regime experienced oppression and made decisions embedded within families. Even after the war, sole survivors often described their losses and rebuilt their lives with a distinct focus on family. Yet this perspective is lacking in academic analyses.
In this work, scholars from the United States, Israel, and across Europe bring a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to their study of the Holocaust and its aftermath from the family perspective. Drawing on research from Belarus to Great Britain, and examining both Jewish and Romani families, they demonstrate the importance of recognizing how people continued to function within family units—broadly defined—throughout the war and afterward.
As Stefan Ihrig shows in this first comprehensive study, many Germans sympathized with the Ottomans’ longstanding repression of the Armenians and with the Turks’ program of extermination during World War I. In the Nazis’ version of history, the Armenian Genocide was justifiable because it had made possible the astonishing rise of the New Turkey.
Arguably the most brutal crime committed by the Japanese military during the Asia-Pacific war was the forced mobilization of 50,000 to 200,000 Asian women to military brothels to sexually serve Japanese soldiers. The majority of these women died, unable to survive the ordeal. Those survivors who came back home kept silent about their brutal experiences for about fifty years. In the late 1980s, the women’s movement in South Korea helped start the redress movement for the victims, encouraging many survivors to come forward to tell what happened to them. With these testimonies, the redress movement gained strong support from the UN, the United States, and other Western countries.
Korean “Comfort Women” synthesizes the previous major findings about Japanese military sexual slavery and legal recommendations, and provides new findings about the issues “comfort women” faced for an English-language audience. It also examines the transnational redress movement, revealing that the Japanese government has tried to conceal the crime of sexual slavery and to resolve the women’s human rights issue with diplomacy and economic power.
The Malmedy Massacre
Steven P. Remy Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress D804.G3R46 2017 | Dewey Decimal 341.690268
During the Battle of the Bulge, Waffen SS soldiers shot 84 American prisoners near Malmedy, Belgium—the deadliest mass execution of U.S. soldiers during World War II. Drawing on newly declassified documents, Steven Remy revisits the massacre and the most infamously controversial war crimes trial in American history, to set the record straight.
Memories before the State examines the discussions and debates surrounding the creation of the Place of Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion (LUM), a national museum in Peru that memorializes the country’s internal armed conflict of the 1980s and 1990s. Emerging from a German donation that the Peruvian government initially rejected, the Lima-based museum project experienced delays, leadership changes, and limited institutional support as planners and staff devised strategies that aligned the LUM with a new class of globalized memorial museums and responded to political realities of the country’s postwar landscape. Through an ethnographic study of this museum-in-progress, including vivid portrayals of LUM workers and representatives from victims’ organizations, human rights NGOs, and the Peruvian armed forces, the book analyzes forms of authority that emerge as an official institution seeks to incorporate and manage diverse perspectives on recent violence.
Neither Settler nor Native
Mahmood Mamdani Harvard University Press, 2020 Library of Congress JC311.M318 2020 | Dewey Decimal 320.1
Making the radical argument that the nation-state was born of colonialism, this book calls us to rethink political violence and reimagine political community beyond majorities and minorities.
In this genealogy of political modernity, Mahmood Mamdani argues that the nation-state and the colonial state created each other. In case after case around the globe—from the New World to South Africa, Israel to Germany to Sudan—the colonial state and the nation-state have been mutually constructed through the politicization of a religious or ethnic majority at the expense of an equally manufactured minority.
The model emerged in North America, where genocide and internment on reservations created both a permanent native underclass and the physical and ideological spaces in which new immigrant identities crystallized as a settler nation. In Europe, this template would be used by the Nazis to address the Jewish Question, and after the fall of the Third Reich, by the Allies to redraw the boundaries of Eastern Europe’s nation-states, cleansing them of their minorities. After Nuremberg the template was used to preserve the idea of the Jews as a separate nation. By establishing Israel through the minoritization of Palestinian Arabs, Zionist settlers followed the North American example. The result has been another cycle of violence.
Neither Settler nor Native offers a vision for arresting this historical process. Mamdani rejects the “criminal” solution attempted at Nuremberg, which held individual perpetrators responsible without questioning Nazism as a political project and thus the violence of the nation-state itself. Instead, political violence demands political solutions: not criminal justice for perpetrators but a rethinking of the political community for all survivors—victims, perpetrators, bystanders, beneficiaries—based on common residence and the commitment to build a common future without the permanent political identities of settler and native. Mamdani points to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa as an unfinished project, seeking a state without a nation.
2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Short-listed for the Juan E. Méndez Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America from Duke University Libraries
How do victims and perpetrators of political violence caught up in a complicated legal battle experience justice on their own terms? Phenomenal Justice is a compelling ethnography about the reopened trials for crimes against humanity committed during the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983. Grounded in phenomenological anthropology and the anthropology of emotion, this book establishes a new theoretical basis that is faithful to the uncertainties of justice and truth in the aftermath of human rights violations. The ethnographic observations and the first-person stories about torture, survival, disappearance, and death reveal the enduring trauma, heartfelt guilt, happiness, battered pride, and scratchy shame that demonstrate the unreserved complexities of truth and justice in post-conflict societies. Phenomenal Justice will be an indispensable contribution to a better understanding of the military dictatorship in Argentina and its aftermath.
How did a powerful concept in international justice evolve into an inequitable response to mass suffering?
For a term coined just seventy-five years ago, genocide has become a remarkably potent idea. But has it transformed from a truly novel vision for international justice into a conservative, even inaccessible term? The Politics of Annihilation traces how the concept of genocide came to acquire such significance on the global political stage. In doing so, it reveals how the concept has been politically contested and refashioned over time. It explores how these shifts implicitly impact what forms of mass violence are considered genocide and what forms are not.
Benjamin Meiches argues that the limited conception of genocide, often rigidly understood as mass killing rooted in ethno-religious identity, has created legal and political institutions that do not adequately respond to the diversity of mass violence. In his insistence on the concept’s complexity, he does not undermine the need for clear condemnations of such violence. But neither does he allow genocide to become a static or timeless notion. Meiches argues that the discourse on genocide has implicitly excluded many forms of violence from popular attention including cases ranging from contemporary Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the legacies of colonial politics in Haiti, Canada, and elsewhere, to the effects of climate change on small island nations.
By mapping the multiplicity of forces that entangle the concept in larger assemblages of power, The Politics of Annihilation gives us a new understanding of how the language of genocide impacts contemporary political life, especially as a means of protesting the social conditions that produce mass violence.
2019 Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award winner
Scholars from a number of disciplines have, especially since the advent of the war on terror, developed critical perspectives on a cluster of related topics in contemporary life: militarization, surveillance, policing, biopolitics (the relation between state power and physical bodies), and the like. James A. Tyner, a geographer who has contributed to this literature with several highly regarded books, here turns to the bureaucratic roots of genocide, building on insight from Hannah Arendt, Zygmunt Bauman, and others to better understand the Khmer Rouge and its implications for the broader study of life, death, and power.
The Politics of Lists analyzes thousands of newly available Cambodian documents both as sources of information and as objects worthy of study in and of themselves. How, Tyner asks, is recordkeeping implicated in the creation of political authority? What is the relationship between violence and bureaucracy? How can documents, as an anonymous technology capable of conveying great force, be understood in relation to newer technologies like drones? What does data create and what does it destroy? Through a theoretically informed, empirically grounded study of the Khmer Rouge security apparatus, Tyner shows that lists and telegrams have often proved as deadly as bullet and bombs.
As the initial US observer, David Rawson participated in the 1993 Rwandan peace talks at Arusha, Tanzania. Later, he served as US ambassador to Rwanda during the last months of the doomed effort to make them hold. Despite the intervention of concerned states in establishing a peace process and the presence of an international mission, UNAMIR, the promise of the Arusha Peace Accords could not be realized. Instead, the downing of Rwandan president Habyarimana’s plane in April 1994 rekindled the civil war and opened the door to genocide.
In Prelude to Genocide, Rawson draws on declassified documents and his own experiences to seek out what went wrong. How did the course of political negotiations in Arusha and party wrangling in Kigali, Rwanda, bring to naught a concentrated international effort to establish peace? And what lessons are there for other international humanitarian interventions? The result is a commanding blend of diplomatic history and analysis that is a milestone read on the Rwandan crisis and on what happens when conflict resolution and diplomacy fall short.
Published in partnership with the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Series.
After World War II, thousands of Japanese throughout Asia were put on trial for war crimes. Examination of postwar trials is now a thriving area of research, but Sharon W. Chamberlain is the first to offer an authoritative assessment of the legal proceedings convened in the Philippines. These were trials conducted by Asians, not Western powers, and centered on the abuses suffered by local inhabitants rather than by prisoners of war. Her impressively researched work reveals the challenges faced by the Philippines, as a newly independent nation, in navigating issues of justice amid domestic and international pressures.
Chamberlain highlights the differing views of Filipinos and Japanese about the trials. The Philippine government aimed to show its commitment to impartial proceedings with just outcomes. In Japan, it appeared that defendants were selected arbitrarily, judges and prosecutors were biased, and lower-ranking soldiers were punished for crimes ordered by their superior officers. She analyzes the broader implications of this divergence as bilateral relations between the two nations evolved and contends that these competing narratives were reimagined in a way that, paradoxically, aided a path toward postwar reconciliation.
Reassessing the Cambodian genocide through the lens of global capitalist development.
James Tyner reinterprets the place of agriculture under the Khmer Rouge, positioning it in new ways relative to Marxism, capitalism, and genocide. The Cambodian revolutionaries’ agricultural management is widely viewed by critics as irrational and dangerous, and it is invoked as part of wider efforts to discredit leftist movements. Researching the specific functioning of Cambodia’s transition from farms to agriculture within the context of the global economy, Tyner comes to a different conclusion. He finds that analysis of “actually existing political economy”—as opposed to the Marxist identification the Khmer Rouge claimed—points to overlap between Cambodian practice and agrarian capitalism.
Tyner argues that dissolution of the traditional Khmer family farm under the aegis of state capitalism is central to any understanding of the mass violence unleashed by the Khmer Rouge. Seen less as a radical outlier than as part of a global shift in farming and food politics, the Cambodian tragedy imparts new lessons to our understanding of the political economy of genocide.
2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Featured in the 2020 Association of University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show
Why do we allow our governments to get away with “bystanding” to genocide? How can we, when alerted to the mass slaughter of innocents, still not take a stand? Reluctant Interveners provides the most comprehensive answers yet to these confronting questions, focusing on the complex relationships between the citizenry, the media, the political elites, and institutions in the most powerful nation in the world, the United States of America.
Eyal Mayroz offers a sobering account of the interactions between the governing and the governed, and the dynamics which transformed moral concerns for the lives of faraway “others” into cold political calculations. Exposed are the processes that turned the promise of “never again” to a recurring reality of ever again, the role of the office of the presidency in their advancement, and the resultant image of America as seen by the rest of the world. In a time of ubiquitous social media and populist revival, a greater role for the U.S. citizenry in decision-making on responses to genocide may be in the cards. The question is, in which directions will these trends take American foreign policy?
Researching Perpetrators of Genocide
Edited by Kjell Anderson and Erin Jessee University of Wisconsin Press, 2021 Library of Congress HV6322.7.R465 2020 | Dewey Decimal 304.6630721
Researchers often face significant and unique ethical and methodological challenges when conducting qualitative field work among people who have been identified as perpetrators of genocide. This can include overcoming biases that often accompany research on perpetrators; conceptualizing, identifying, and recruiting research subjects; risk mitigation and negotiating access in difficult contexts; self-care in conducting interviews relating to extreme violence; and minimizing harm for interviewees who may themselves be traumatized.
This collection of case studies by scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds turns a critical and reflective eye toward qualitative fieldwork on the topic. Framed by an introduction that sets out key issues in perpetrator research and a conclusion that proposes and outlines a code of best practice, the volume provides an essential starting point for future research while advancing genocide studies, transitional justice, and related fields. This original, important, and welcome contribution will be of value to historians, political scientists, criminologists, anthropologists, lawyers, and legal scholars.
From the Holocaust in Europe to the military dictatorships of Latin America to the enduring violence of settler colonialism around the world, genocide has been a defining experience of far too many societies. In many cases, the damaging legacies of genocide lead to continued violence and social divisions for decades. In others, however, creative responses to this identity-based violence emerge from the grassroots, contributing to widespread social and political transformation. Resonant Violence explores both the enduring impacts of genocidal violence and the varied ways in which states and grassroots collectives respond to and transform this violence through memory practices and grassroots activism. By calling upon lessons from Germany, Poland, Argentina, and the Indigenous United States, Resonant Violence demonstrates how ordinary individuals come together to engage with a violent past to pave the way for a less violent future.
The Genocide Convention was drafted by the United Nations in the late 1940s, as a response to the horrors of the Second World War. But was the Genocide Convention truly effective at achieving its humanitarian aims, or did it merely exacerbate the divisive rhetoric of Cold War geopolitics?
A Rhetorical Crime shows how genocide morphed from a legal concept into a political discourse used in propaganda battles between the United States and the Soviet Union. Over the course of the Cold War era, nearly eighty countries were accused of genocide, and yet there were few real-time interventions to stop the atrocities committed by genocidal regimes like the Cambodian Khmer Rouge.
Renowned genocide scholar Anton Weiss-Wendt employs a unique comparative approach, analyzing the statements of Soviet and American politicians, historians, and legal scholars in order to deduce why their moral posturing far exceeded their humanitarian action.
Winner of the 2019 Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prize for Excellence in Armenian Studies (NAASR)
From the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, the city of Ani was the jewel of the Armenian kingdom, renowned far and wide for its magnificent buildings. Known as the city of 1001 churches, Ani was a center for artistic innovation, and its architecture is a potential missing link between Byzantine and Gothic styles. By the fifteenth century, Ani was virtually abandoned, its stunning buildings left to crumble. Yet its ruins have remained a symbol of cultural accomplishment that looms large in the Armenian imagination.
The Ruins of Ani is a unique combination of history, art criticism, and travel memoir that takes readers on a thousand-year journey in search of past splendors. Today, Ani is a popular tourist site in Turkey, but the city has been falsified in its presentation by the Turkish government in order to erase Armenian history in the wake of the Armenian Genocide. This timely publication also raises questions about the preservation of major historic monuments in the face of post atrocity campaigns of cultural erasure.
Originally written by young priest Krikor Balakian in 1910, just a few years before the Armenian genocide, this book offers a powerful and poignant counterpart to Balakian’s acclaimed genocide memoir Armenian Golgotha. This new translation by the author’s great-nephew, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Balakian, eloquently renders the book’s vivid descriptions and lyrical prose into English. Including a new introduction that explores Ani’s continued relevance in the twenty-first century, The Ruins of Ani will give readers a new appreciation for this lost city’s status as a pinnacle of both Armenian civilization and human achievement.
After the staggering horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, the United Nations resolved to prevent and punish the crime of genocide throughout the world. The resulting UN Genocide Convention treaty, however, was drafted, contested, and weakened in the midst of Cold War tensions and ideological struggles between the Soviet Union and the West.
Based on extensive archival research, Anton Weiss-Wendt reveals in detail how the political aims of the superpowers rendered the convention a weak instrument for addressing abuses against human rights. The Kremlin viewed the genocide treaty as a political document and feared repercussions. What the Soviets wanted most was to keep the subjugation of Eastern Europe and the vast system of forced labor camps out of the genocide discourse. The American Bar Association and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, in turn, worried that the Convention contained vague formulations that could be used against the United States, especially in relation to the plight of African Americans. Sidelined in the heated discussions, Weiss-Wendt shows, were humanitarian concerns for preventing future genocides.
Understanding the Syrian revolution is unthinkable without an in-depth analysis from below. Paying attention to the complex activities of the grassroots resistance, this book demands we rethink the revolution.
Having lived in Syria for over fifteen years, Yasser Munif is expert in exploring the micropolitics of revolutionary forces. He uncovers how cities are managed, how precious food is distributed and how underground resistance thrives in regions controlled by regime forces. In contrast, the macropolitics of the elite Syrian regime are undemocratic, destructive and counter-revolutionary. Regional powers, Western elites, as well as international institutions choose this macropolitical lens to apprehend the Syrian conflict. By doing so, they also choose to ignore the revolutionaries' struggles.
By looking at the interplay between the two sides, case studies of Aleppo and Manbij and numerous firsthand interviews, Yasser Munif shows us that this macro and geopolitical authoritarianism only brings death, and that by looking at the smaller picture - the local, the grassroots, the revolutionaries - we can see the politics of life emerge.
Sierra Leone’s devastating civil war barely caught the attention of Western media, but it raged on for over a decade, bringing misery to millions of people in West Africa from 1991 to 2002. The atrocities committed in this war and the accounts of its survivors were duly recorded by international organizations, but they run the risk of being consigned to dusty historical archives.
Derived from public testimonies at a UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Freetown, this remarkable poetry collection aims to breathe new life into the records of Sierra Leone’s civil war, delicately extracting heartbreaking human stories from the morass of legal jargon. By rendering selected trial transcripts in poetic form, Shanee Stepakoff finds a novel way to communicate not only the suffering of Sierra Leone’s people, but also their courage, dignity, and resilience. Her use of innovative literary techniques helps to ensure that the voices of survivors are not forgotten, but rather heard across the world.
This volume also includes an introduction that explores how the genre of “found poetry” can serve as a uniquely powerful means through which writers may bear witness to atrocity. This book’s unforgettable excavation and shaping of survivor testimonies opens new possibilities for speaking about the unspeakable.
From 1894 to 1924 three waves of violence swept across Anatolia, targeting the region’s Christian minorities. Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi’s impeccably researched account is the first to show that the three were actually part of a single, continuing, and intentional effort to wipe out Anatolia’s Christian population and create a pure Muslim nation.
In June 2009, Richard Goldstone was a global hero, honored by the MacArthur Foundation for its prize in international justice. Four months later, he was called a “quisling” and compared to some of the worst traitors in human history. Why? Because this champion of human rights and international law chose to apply his commitments to fairness and truth to his own community.
The Trials of Richard Goldstone tells the story of this extraordinary individual and the price he paid for his convictions. It describes how Goldstone, working as a judge in apartheid South Africa, helped to undermine this unjust system and later, at Nelson Mandela’s request, led a commission that investigated cases of racial violence and intimidation. It also considers the international renown he received as the chief United Nations prosecutor for war crimes committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the first tribunals to try political and military leaders on charges of genocide. Finally, it explores how Goldstone became a controversial figure in the wake of the Jewish jurist’s powerful, but flawed, investigation of Israel for alleged war crimes in Gaza.
Richard Goldstone’s dramatic life story reveals that even in a world rife with prejudice, nationalism, and contempt for human rights, one courageous man can advance the cause of justice.
Since the 1980s, an array of legal and non-legal practices—labeled Transitional Justice—has been developed to support post-repressive, post-authoritarian, and post-conflict societies in dealing with their traumatic past. In Understanding the Age of Transitional Justice, the contributors analyze the processes, products, and efficacy of a number of transitional justice mechanisms and look at how genocide, mass political violence, and historical injustices are being institutionally addressed. They invite readers to speculate on what (else) the transcripts produced by these institutions tell us about the past and the present, calling attention to the influence of implicit history conveyed in the narratives that have gained an audience through international criminal tribunals, trials, and truth commissions. Nanci Adler has gathered leading specialists to scrutinize the responses to and effects of violent pasts that provide new perspectives for understanding and applying transitional justice mechanisms in an effort to stop the recycling of old repressions into new ones.