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.
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.
Presented with accounts of genocide and torture, we ask how people could bring themselves to commit such horrendous acts. A searching meditation on our all-too-human capacity for inhumanity, Evil Men confronts atrocity head-on—how it looks and feels, what motivates it, how it can be stopped.Drawing on firsthand interviews with convicted war criminals from the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), James Dawes leads us into the frightening territory where soldiers perpetrated some of the worst crimes imaginable: murder, torture, rape, medical experimentation on living subjects. Transcending conventional reporting and commentary, Dawes’s narrative weaves together unforgettable segments from the interviews with consideration of the troubling issues they raise. Telling the personal story of his journey to Japan, Dawes also lays bare the cultural misunderstandings and ethical compromises that at times called the legitimacy of his entire project into question. For this book is not just about the things war criminals do. It is about what it is like, and what it means, to befriend them.Do our stories of evil deeds make a difference? Can we depict atrocity without sensational curiosity? Anguished and unflinchingly honest, as eloquent as it is raw and painful, Evil Men asks hard questions about the most disturbing capabilities human beings possess, and acknowledges that these questions may have no comforting answers.
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.
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
An authoritative reassessment of one of the Third Reich’s most notorious war criminals, whose alleged sexual barbarism made her a convenient scapegoat and obscured the true nature of Nazi terror.On September 1, 1967, one of the Third Reich’s most infamous figures hanged herself in her cell after nearly twenty-four years in prison. Known as the “Bitch of Buchenwald,” Ilse Koch was singularly notorious, having been accused of owning lampshades fabricated from skins of murdered camp inmates and engaging in “bestial” sexual behavior. These allegations fueled a public fascination that turned Koch into a household name and the foremost symbol of Nazi savagery. Her subsequent prosecution resulted in a scandal that prompted US Senate hearings and even the intervention of President Truman.Yet the most sensational atrocities attributed to Koch were apocryphal or unproven. In this authoritative reappraisal, Tomaz Jardim shows that, while Koch was guilty of heinous crimes, she also became a scapegoat for postwar Germans eager to distance themselves from the Nazi past. The popular condemnation of Koch—and the particularly perverse crimes attributed to her by prosecutors, the media, and the public at large—diverted attention from the far more consequential but less sensational complicity of millions of ordinary Germans in the Third Reich’s crimes.Ilse Koch on Trial reveals how gendered perceptions of violence and culpability drove Koch’s zealous prosecution at a time when male Nazi perpetrators responsible for greater crimes often escaped punishment or received lighter sentences. Both in the international press and during her three criminal trials, Koch was condemned for her violation of accepted gender norms and “good womanly behavior.” Koch’s “sexual barbarism,” though treated as an emblem of the Third Reich’s depravity, ultimately obscured the bureaucratized terror of the Nazi state and hampered understanding of the Holocaust.
The Armenian Genocide and the Nazi Holocaust are often thought to be separated by a large distance in time and space. But Stefan Ihrig shows that they were much more connected than previously thought. Bismarck and then Wilhelm II staked their foreign policy on close relations with a stable Ottoman Empire. To the extent that the Armenians were restless under Ottoman rule, they were a problem for Germany too. From the 1890s onward Germany became accustomed to excusing violence against Armenians, even accepting it as a foreign policy necessity. For many Germans, the Armenians represented an explicitly racial problem and despite the Armenians’ Christianity, Germans portrayed them as the “Jews of the Orient.”As Stefan Ihrig reveals in this first comprehensive study of the subject, many Germans before World War I sympathized with the Ottomans’ longstanding repression of the Armenians and would go on to defend vigorously the Turks’ wartime program of extermination. After the war, in what Ihrig terms the “great genocide debate,” German nationalists first denied and then justified genocide in sweeping terms. The Nazis too came to see genocide as justifiable: in their version of history, the Armenian Genocide had made possible the astonishing rise of the New Turkey.Ihrig is careful to note that this connection does not imply the Armenian Genocide somehow caused the Holocaust, nor does it make Germans any less culpable. But no history of the twentieth century should ignore the deep, direct, and disturbing connections between these two crimes.
The Iraq war defined the first decade of the twenty-first century – leading to mass protests and raising profound questions about domestic politics and the use of military force. Yet most explanations of the war have a narrow focus either on political personalities or oil.
Christopher Doran provides a unique perspective, arguing that the drive to war came from the threat Iraq might pose to American economic hegemony if the UN sanctions regime was ended. Doran argues that this hegemony is rooted in third world debt and corporate market access. It was protection of these arrangements that motivated US action, not Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction or a simplistic desire to seize its oil.
This book will provide new insights on the war which still casts a shadow over global politics, and will have wide appeal to all those concerned about the Middle East, world peace and global development.
During the Battle of the Bulge, Waffen SS soldiers shot 84 American prisoners near the Belgian town of Malmedy—the deadliest mass execution of U.S. soldiers during World War II. The bloody deeds of December 17, 1944, produced the most controversial war crimes trial in American history. Drawing on newly declassified documents, Steven Remy revisits the massacre—and the decade-long controversy that followed—to set the record straight.After the war, the U.S. Army tracked down 74 of the SS men involved in the massacre and other atrocities and put them on trial at Dachau. All the defendants were convicted and sentenced to death or life imprisonment. Over the following decade, however, a network of Germans and sympathetic Americans succeeded in discrediting the trial. They claimed that interrogators—some of them Jewish émigrés—had coerced false confessions and that heat of battle conditions, rather than superiors’ orders, had led to the shooting. They insisted that vengeance, not justice, was the prosecution’s true objective. The controversy generated by these accusations, leveled just as the United States was anxious to placate its West German ally, resulted in the release of all the convicted men by 1957.The Malmedy Massacre shows that the torture accusations were untrue, and the massacre was no accident but was typical of the Waffen SS’s brutal fighting style. Remy reveals in unprecedented depth how German and American amnesty advocates warped our understanding of one of the war’s most infamous crimes through a systematic campaign of fabrications and distortions.
The Japanese Army committed numerous atrocities during its pitiless campaigns in China from 1931 to 1945. When the Chinese emerged victorious with the Allies at the end of World War II, many seemed ready to exact retribution for these crimes. Rather than resort to violence, however, they chose to deal with their former enemy through legal and diplomatic means. Focusing on the trials of, and policies toward, Japanese war criminals in the postwar period, Men to Devils, Devils to Men analyzes the complex political maneuvering between China and Japan that shaped East Asian realpolitik during the Cold War.Barak Kushner examines how factions of Nationalists and Communists within China structured the war crimes trials in ways meant to strengthen their competing claims to political rule. On the international stage, both China and Japan propagandized the tribunals, promoting or blocking them for their own advantage. Both nations vied to prove their justness to the world: competing groups in China by emphasizing their magnanimous policy toward the Japanese; Japan by openly cooperating with postwar democratization initiatives. At home, however, Japan allowed the legitimacy of the war crimes trials to be questioned in intense debates that became a formidable force in postwar Japanese politics.In uncovering the different ways the pursuit of justice for Japanese war crimes influenced Sino-Japanese relations in the postwar years, Men to Devils, Devils to Men reveals a Cold War dynamic that still roils East Asian relations today.
Prospect Top 50 Thinker of 2021British Academy Book Prize FinalistPROSE Award Finalist“Provocative, elegantly written.”—Fara Dabhoiwala, New York Review of Books“Demonstrates how a broad rethinking of political issues becomes possible when Western ideals and practices are examined from the vantage point of Asia and Africa.”—Pankaj Mishra, New York Review of BooksIn case after case around the globe—from Israel to Sudan—the colonial state and the nation-state have been constructed through the politicization of a religious or ethnic majority at the expense of an equally manufactured minority. The model emerged in America, where genocide and internment on reservations created a permanent native minority. In Europe, this template would be used both by the Nazis and the Allies.Neither Settler nor Native offers a vision for arresting this process. Mahmood Mamdani points to inherent limitations in the legal solution attempted at Nuremberg. Political violence demands political solutions: not criminal justice but a rethinking of the political community to include victims and perpetrators, bystanders and beneficiaries. Making the radical argument that the nation-state was born of colonialism, he calls on us to delink the nation from the state so as to ensure equal political rights for all who live within its boundaries.“A deeply learned account of the origins of our modern world…Mamdani rejects the current focus on human rights as the means to bring justice to the victims of this colonial and postcolonial bloodshed. Instead, he calls for a new kind of political imagination…Joining the ranks of Hannah Arendt’s Imperialism, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, and Edward Said’s Orientalism, this book is destined to become a classic text of postcolonial studies and political theory.”—Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?“A masterwork of historical comparison and razor-sharp political analysis, with grave lessons about the pitfalls of forgetting, moralizing, or criminalizing this violence. Mamdani also offers a hopeful rejoinder in a revived politics of decolonization.”—Karuna Mantena, Columbia University“A powerfully original argument, one that supplements political analysis with a map for our political future.”—Faisal Devji, University of Oxford
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.
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.
A Financial Times Book of the YearA Foreign Affairs Book of the YearA Spectator Book of the Year“A landmark contribution to the study of these epochal events.”—Times Literary Supplement“Brilliantly researched and written…casts a careful eye upon the ghastly events that took place in the final decades of the Ottoman empire, when its rulers decided to annihilate their Christian subjects…Hitler and the Nazis gleaned lessons from this genocide that they then applied to their own efforts to extirpate Jews.”—Jacob Heilbrun, The SpectatorBetween 1894 and 1924, three waves of violence swept across Anatolia, targeting the region’s Christian minorities. By 1924, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, once nearly a quarter of the population, had been reduced to 2 percent. Most historians have treated these waves as distinct, isolated events, and successive Turkish governments presented them as an unfortunate sequence of accidents. The Thirty-Year Genocide is the first account to show that all three were actually part of a single, continuing, and intentional effort to wipe out Anatolia’s Christian population. Despite the dramatic swing from the Islamizing autocracy of the sultan to the secularizing republicanism of the post–World War I period, the nation’s annihilationist policies were remarkably constant, with continual recourse to premeditated mass killing, homicidal deportation, forced conversion, and mass rape. And one thing more was a constant: the rallying cry of jihad. While not justified under the teachings of Islam, the killing of two million Christians was effected through the calculated exhortation of the Turks to create a pure Muslim nation.“A subtle diagnosis of why, at particular moments over a span of three decades, Ottoman rulers and their successors unleashed torrents of suffering.”—Bruce Clark, New York Times Book Review
Half a century after the Holocaust, on European soil, Bosnian Serbs orchestrated a system of concentration camps where they subjected their Bosniak Muslim and Bosnian Croat neighbors to torture, abuse, and killing. Foreign journalists exposed the horrors of the camps in the summer of 1992, sparking worldwide outrage. This exposure, however, did not stop the mass atrocities. Hikmet Karčić shows that the use of camps and detention facilities has been a ubiquitous practice in countless wars and genocides in order to achieve the wartime objectives of perpetrators. Although camps have been used for different strategic purposes, their essential functions are always the same: to inflict torture and lasting trauma on the victims.
Torture, Humiliate, Kill develops the author’s collective traumatization theory, which contends that the concentration camps set up by the Bosnian Serb authorities had the primary purpose of inflicting collective trauma on the non-Serb population of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This collective traumatization consisted of excessive use of torture, sexual abuse, humiliation, and killing. The physical and psychological suffering imposed by these methods were seen as a quick and efficient means to establish the Serb “living space.” Karčić argues that this trauma was deliberately intended to deter non-Serbs from ever returning to their pre-war homes. The book centers on multiple examples of experiences at concentration camps in four towns operated by Bosnian Serbs during the war: Prijedor, Bijeljina, Višegrad, and Bileća. Chosen according to their political and geographical position, Karčić demonstrates that these camps were used as tools for the ethno-religious genocidal campaign against non-Serbs. Torture, Humiliate, Kill is a thorough and definitive resource for understanding the function and operation of camps during the Bosnian genocide.
Johannes Morsink argues that the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the human rights movement today are direct descendants of revulsion to the Holocaust and the desire to never let it happen again.
Much recent scholarship about human rights has severed this link between the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration, and contemporary human rights activism in favor of seeing the 1970s as the era of genesis. Morsink forcefully presents his case that the Universal Declaration was indeed a meaningful though underappreciated document for the human rights movement and that the declaration and its significance cannot be divorced from the Holocaust. He reexamines this linkage through the working papers of the commission that drafted the declaration as well as other primary sources.
This work seeks to reset scholarly understandings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the foundations of the contemporary human rights movement.
The poignant saga of Guatemala’s adoption industry: an international marketplace for children, built on a foundation of inequality, war, and Indigenous dispossession.In 2009 Dolores Preat went to a small Maya town in Guatemala to find her birth mother. At the address retrieved from her adoption file, she was told that her supposed mother, one Rosario Colop Chim, never gave up a child for adoption—but in 1984 a girl across the street was abducted. At that house, Preat met a woman who strongly resembled her. Colop Chim, it turned out, was not Preat’s mother at all, but a jaladora—a baby broker.Some 40,000 children, many Indigenous, were kidnapped or otherwise coercively parted from families scarred by Guatemala’s civil war or made desperate by unrelenting poverty. Amid the US-backed army’s genocide against Indigenous Maya, children were wrested from their villages and put up for adoption illegally, mostly in the United States. During the war’s second decade, adoption was privatized, overseen by lawyers who made good money matching children to overseas families. Private adoptions skyrocketed to the point where tiny Guatemala overtook giants like China and Russia as a “sender” state. Drawing on government archives, oral histories, and a rare cache of adoption files opened briefly for war crimes investigations, Rachel Nolan explores the human toll of an international industry that thrives on exploitation.Would-be parents in rich countries have fostered a commercial market for children from poor countries, with Guatemala becoming the most extreme case. Until I Find You reckons with the hard truths of a practice that builds loving families in the Global North out of economic exploitation, endemic violence, and dislocation in the Global South.
Reports of sexual violence in armed conflict frequently appear in political discussions and news media, presenting a stark contrast to a long history of silence and nonrecognition. Conflict-related sexual violence has transitioned rapidly from a neglected human rights issue to an unambiguous security concern on the agendas of powerful states and the United Nations Security Council. Through interviews and primary-source evidence, Kerry F. Crawford investigates the reasons for this dramatic change and the implications of the securitization of sexual violence.
Views about wartime sexual violence began changing in the 1990s as a result of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and then accelerated in the 2000s. Three case studies—the United States' response to sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1820 in 2008, and the development of the United Kingdom’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative—illustrate that use of the weapon of war frame does not represent pure co-optation by the security sector. Rather, well-placed advocates have used this frame to advance the antisexual violence agenda while simultaneously working to move beyond the frame’s constraints. This book is a groundbreaking account of the transformation of international efforts to end wartime sexual violence.
The persecution of the Yezidis, a religious community originating in Upper Mesopotamia, has been ongoing since at least the 10th century. On 3 August 2014, Islamic State attacked the Yezidi community in Sinjar, Kurdistan. Thousands were enslaved or killed in this genocide, and 100,000 people fled to Mount Sinjar, permanently exiled from their homes.
Here, Thomas Schmidinger talks to the Yezidis in Iraq who tell the history of their people, why the genocide happened and how it affects their lives today. This is the first full account of these events, as told by the Yezidis in their own words, to be published in English.
The failure of the Kurdistan Peshmerga of the PDK in Iraq to protect the Yezidis is explored, as is the crucial support given by the Syrian-Kurdish YPG. This multi-faceted and important history brings the fight and trauma of the Yezidis back into focus, calling for the world to remember their struggle.
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