Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

Kingston University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

  • Host University

    Kingston University

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study

    International Relations

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Substantial prior successful study of politics/IR at university level.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Content:

    This module will be examining some deeply troubling events in recent history and politics
    and the various ethical, legal and political responses that they have generated.

    It has been argued that the Holocaust was a critical turning point, a catastrophe which
    required a fundamental ethical, legal and political rethinking of how the rights of human
    beings could be protected when states in the modern world engage in the systematic
    attempt to murder large numbers of people, including many of their own citizens.

    The module begins with reflections on the Nazi attempt to eliminate a whole group of
    people (the Jews) and to murder and enslave millions of others. It then considers a range
    of responses, including the Nuremberg trials, the Genocide Convention, and the
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    It examines a number of cases of genocide and crimes against humanity that have
    nevertheless occurred subsequently. It evaluates the repeated failure for decades to halt
    or prevent these crimes and then considers the rethinking caused by the genocides in
    Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the setting up of ad hoc tribunals and an International
    Criminal Court to prosecute perpetrators and provide justice to victims.

    It concludes with reflections on how much progress has been made in protecting citizens
    in a world of sovereign nation states and what forms of justice can work after such
    crimes have been committed. These are highly contested questions and the module is
    designed to encourage the critical analysis and evaluation of a wide range of arguments
    that have been put forward from a variety of perspectives.

    Autumn Semester:

    The focus for this semester is on considering some of the core questions and conceptual
    issues and discuss different ways in which they have been thought about, from a variety
    of perspectives. A number of case studies where genocide/crimes against humanity have
    been committed are then examined.

    Lecture themes:
    ? Introduction: 1945 and the impact of the Holocaust
    ? From Crimes against Humanity to Genocide and the Genocide Convention
    ? The political uses and abuses of genocide
    ? Understanding genocide and crimes against humanity 1 ? intentionalism
    ? Understanding genocide and crimes against humanity 2- functionalism
    ? Understanding genocide and crimes against humanity 3 ? from totalitarianism to
    ? The question of morality ? perpetrators, victims, bystanders, and rescuers
    ? Cambodia 1, Cambodia 2
    ? Guatemala 1, Guatemala 2

    Spring Semester:

    A number of case studies where genocide/crimes against humanity have been
    committed are examined, then moving on to consider some common themes and issues
    arising out of these developments, before concluding with an attempt at an overview of
    what might have been learnt.

    Lecture themes:
    ? Yugoslavia 1
    ? Yugoslavia 2
    ? Rwanda 1
    ? Rwanda 2
    ? The crises of the 90s and the question of intervention
    ? Prosecuting genocide and crimes against humanity ? from the Tribunals to the
    ? Genocide and crimes against humanity in the new millennium: Darfur 1
    ? Darfur 2 ... and other cases
    ? Prevention
    ? Reconciliation?
    ? Review

    Teaching: Lectures and seminars

    ? Production of a critical bibliography, which will involve a review of no more than
    1500 words of 3 significant books in the field which offer different explanations
    of how and why genocide and crimes against humanity have been committed
    since the Holocaust. (Autumn semester, 40%).
    ? 2,500 word essay (Spring semester, 60%).
    STUDY OPTION 2: Alternative assessment ? essay (tbc)
    STUDY OPTION 3: Alternative assessment ? essay (tbc)

    Study Option 1 = Whole Year
    Study Option 2 = Autumn
    Study Option 3 = Spring/summer

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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