Not available in 2021/22
SO309      Half Unit
Atrocity and Justice

This information is for the 2021/22 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.

This course is capped.


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. 


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and online materials totalling a minimum of 20 hours in the LT, with 2 hours 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

1 x formative essay of 1500 words.

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).


Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.

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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2020/21: 15

Average class size 2020/21: 17

Capped 2020/21: Yes (17)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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