SO309      Half Unit
Atrocity and Justice

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Claire Moon STC S109


This course is available on the BSc in Language, Culture and Society, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Sociology students will be given priority.

This course cannot be taken in conjunction with IR312 Genocide.


No specific pre-requisites, but this is open only to 2nd and 3rd year students in Sociology and other programmes. It is not available as a 1st year option.

Course content

The course will cover a number of issues relevant to the study of atrocity and justice for atrocity. It looks at the social construction of atrocities, the Genocide Convention, structural approaches to understanding genocide (modernity, democracy and colonial rule), the perpetrators. victims and witnesses of atrocity, the problem of denial of state crimes, historical injustices in Australia, Canada and the US, forensic investigations of atrocity, retributive and restorative approaches to justice for atrocity, truth commissions and war crimes tribunals. 


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

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

Formative coursework

Formative assessment will be as follows:

1. Class presentation: students will conduct one class presentation and will receive detailed feedback which will focus on points for improvement for the assessed components;

2. Practice essay: students will carry out one practice essay during week 6 (reading week) of the LT. They will receive detailed feedback for this in preparation for the summative assessments.

Indicative reading

Arendt, Hannah (1994) Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Penguin Books)

Bauman, Zygmunt (1989) Modernity and the Holocaust (Cambridge: Polity)

Browning, Christopher (1992) Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 (New York: HarperCollins):

Cohen, Stan (2001) States of Denial (Cambridge: Polity Press)

Hacking, Ian (1999) The Social Construction of What? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press)

Jones, Adam (2011) Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, 2nd edition (London: Routledge)

Wilson, Richard (2001) The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Legitimizing the Post-Apartheid State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).


Exam (60%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (40%, 2500 words) in the ST.

An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the first Tuesday of Summer Term. 

Attendance at all classes and submission of all set coursework is required.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication