University of Michigan’s Center for Armenian Studies to present “The Problems of Genocide”

The Center for Armenian Studies at the University of Michigan is presenting a webinar entitled “The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression” on Thursday, April 22 from 4:00-5:30 pm with Dr. A. Dirk Moses, Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Genocide is not only a problem of mass death, but also of how, as a relatively new idea and law, it organizes and distorts thinking about civilian destruction. Taking the normative perspective of civilian immunity from military attack, Dr. Moses argues that the implicit hierarchy of international criminal law, atop which sits genocide as the “crime of crimes,” blinds us to other types of humanly caused civilian death, like bombing cities, and the “collateral damage” of missile and drone strikes. Talk of genocide, then, can function ideologically to detract from systematic violence against civilians perpetrated by governments of all types. “The Problems of Genocide” contends that this violence is the consequence of “permanent security” imperatives: the striving of states, and armed groups seeking to found states, to make themselves invulnerable to threats.

Dr. Moses has been senior editor of the “Journal of Genocide Research” since 2011 and co-edits the War and Genocide book series for Berghahn Books.

Geoff Eley, Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Michigan, will serve as commentator for the event. Prof. Eley has taught at the university since 1979 and recently began teaching a large new undergraduate course on the history of terrorism.

The webinar is co-sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Donia Human Rights Center, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, and Society for Armenian Studies.

Email for more information or to register for the event.

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