IR312      Half Unit

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jens Meierhenrich CLM 6.07


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

This course cannot be taken in conjunction with SO309 Atrocity and Justice.

Course content

This lecture course provides an introduction to the study of genocide. The course's disciplinary ambit ranges from anthropology to economics, from history to law, and from political science to sociology. Against the background of diverse disciplinary approaches, it explores major theoretical and empirical aspects of the role(s) of genocidal campaigns in international politics, inter alia, their origins, development, and termination; the manner of their perpetration, progression, and diffusion; their impact on the maintenance of international peace and security; their consequences for the reconstruction and development of states and the building of nations; and their adjudication in domestic and international courts and tribunals. Empirical cases to be discussed include Australia, Cambodia, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Nazi Germany, Guatemala, Iraq, Northern Ireland, the Ottoman Empire, Rwanda, Uganda, the Soviet Union, Sudan, and the former Yugoslavia, among others. The course is designed to equip students with the analytic tools necessary for making sense of the evolution of the international system from the nineteenth century to the present - and for critically assessing the promise and limits of responding to collective violence.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy. 

Formative coursework

Students are required to research and write one formative essay (1,500 words). In order to ensure a broad acquisition of knowledge, students should diversify the subject matter of their essays. In addressing a given essay topic, students must seek to integrate theory and history and bring empirical evidence to bear on the research question they have chosen. In constructing their answers, students may examine a number of cases, drawing comparisons among them, or may focus on a single case. Essays must be fully - and carefully - referenced using one of the major conventions consistently. Submissions are due in Week 8 and must be made in hard copy.

Indicative reading

Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and Holocaust (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, [1989] 2000).


Christopher R. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942, with contributions by Jürgen Matthäus (London: Heinemann, 2004).


Virginia Page Fortna, Does Peacekeeping Work? Shaping Belligerents' Choices after Civil War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).


Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan, eds., The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).


John Hagan and Wenona Rymond-Richmond, Darfur and the Crime of Genocide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).


Stathis N. Kalyvas, The Logic of Violence in Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).


Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).


Jens Meierhenrich, Genocide: A Reader (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).


Jens Meierhenrich, Genocide: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).


Anne Orford, International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).


Filip Reyntjens, The Great African War: Congo and Regional Politics, 1996-2006 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).


William A. Schabas, Genocide in International Law: The Crimes of Crimes, Second edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).


Karen E. Smith, Genocide and the Europeans (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).


Wolfgang Sofsky, The Order of Terror: The Concentration Camp, translated by William Templer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, [1993] 1997).


Charles Tilly, The Politics of Collective Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).


Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 39.2
2:1 25.5
2:2 25.5
Third 0
Fail 9.8

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2015/16: 20

Average class size 2015/16: 21

Capped 2015/16: Yes (15)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information