IR312      Half Unit

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Jens Meierhenrich CBG.10.01


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

This course has a limited number of places (it is capped).

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

Course content

This 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, the former Yugoslavia, and Myanmar, 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.


This course is delivered through ten 2-hour classes totalling a minimum of 20 hours in Michaelmas Term.

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 (1,000 words) due in Week 7 of Michaelmas Term. Essays must be fully - and carefully - referenced using one of the major conventions consistently.

Indicative reading

Lee Ann Fujii, Show Time: The Logic and Power of Violent Display (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2021).

Christian Gerlach, The Extermination of the European Jews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

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

A. Dirk Moses, The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Diane M. Nelson, Who Counts? The Mathematics of Death and Life after Genocide (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015).

Gérard Prunier, Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

Sean R. Roberts, The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020).

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


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the LT.

Essays must be fully - and carefully - referenced using one of the major conventions consistently.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
First 33.3
2:1 56.2
2:2 10.4
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2021/22: 16

Average class size 2021/22: 16

Capped 2021/22: Yes (15)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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