NEWARK, N.J.—Two new courses exploring the darkest side of 19th- and early 20th-century empires are being offered this spring at Rutgers University-Newark by the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR), in collaboration with the Genocide Education Project–Higher Education Division (GenEd-HigherEd).
Titled “Imperialism and Mass Violence” and “Amending Atrocities,” the courses are being taught by Khatchig Mouradian, a Ph.D. candidate in genocide studies and the former editor of the Armenian Weekly.
“Imperialism and Mass Violence” explores the mass violence carried out by 19th- and early 20th-century empires within the broader context of the political, economic, cultural, and environmental dimensions of imperialism. Through case studies of the Native Americans, the Spanish-Cuban War, the Philippines-American War, the genocide of the Herero and Nama, the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and the crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, students will study imperial ideologies and policies, including practices of population control, counter-insurgency, and outright mass murder and genocide, with a comparative perspective. Issues of victim agency and resistance, as well as the aftermath of mass violence, will be examined in each case.
“Amending Atrocities” examines the legacy of these cases of genocide and mass violence, and how states and societies deal with atrocities in their history. The course will explore shades of genocide denial in public discourse, the acknowledgment of crimes, apology, justice, and reparations as paths to reconciliation.
“On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, as the world continues to witness new examples of mass violence, it is important to examine these dark pages in human history that degrade our collective humanity and re-shape our world in profound ways,” said James Sahagian, the director of GenEd-HigherEd. “Through a comparative study, students will also analyze the significant long-term effects on victims and perpetrators, and ensuing demands for justice.”
Mouradian has been the coordinator of the Armenian Genocide Program at Rutgers since 2011. He teaches history and sociology as an adjunct professor, and is also a doctoral candidate at the Strassler Center and a Calouste Gulbenkian Armenian Studies Fellow. The courses follow Mouradian’s spring 2014 course, “Sociology and History of Concentration Camps,” which traced the evolution of the concentration camp from a counter-insurgency strategy in wartime to a weapon of mass murder. Cases studied included the Spanish-Cuban War, the Second Anglo-Boer War, the Philippines-American War, the Armenian Genocide, and the Holocaust.
Since its inception in 2007, CGHR has become a leader in the field of genocide and human rights studies as it seeks to fulfill its mission “to enhance our understanding of and find solutions to the most pressing 21st-century challenges related to peace and conflict.” It does so by carrying out cutting-edge research, scholarship, outreach activities, and educational initiatives such as these courses. CGHR’s director of global education, Prof. Nela Navarro, said, “These courses enhance the mission of CGHR’s Global Education Program to recognize the critical role that education plays in promoting and sustaining civic society.”
The Genocide Education Project is a non-profit organization that assists educators in teaching about human rights and genocide, particularly the Armenian Genocide, by developing and distributing instructional materials, providing access to teaching resources, and organizing educational workshops. It seeks to broaden the general understanding of the Armenian Genocide in the context of the history of World War I and as a prototype of the pattern of genocides that followed. GenEd-HigherEd is focused on facilitating courses and other programming at colleges and universities.
For more information on the spring courses or on the Genocide Education Project, call (201) 739-0901, e-mail highered@GenocideEducation.org, or visit www.GenocideEducation.org. For information about the Rutgers Armenian Genocide Program, e-mail Khatchig Mouradian at firstname.lastname@example.org; e-mail CGHR email@example.com; call (973) 353-1260; or visit www.ncas.rutgers.edu/cghr.