Empire, Colony, Genocide

War and Genocide

Book 12
Berghahn Books
Free sample

In 1944, Raphael Lemkin coined the term “genocide” to describe a foreign occupation that destroyed or permanently crippled a subject population. In this tradition, Empire, Colony, Genocide embeds genocide in the epochal geopolitical transformations of the past 500 years: the European colonization of the globe, the rise and fall of the continental land empires, violent decolonization, and the formation of nation states. It thereby challenges the customary focus on twentieth-century mass crimes and shows that genocide and “ethnic cleansing” have been intrinsic to imperial expansion. The complexity of the colonial encounter is reflected in the contrast between the insurgent identities and genocidal strategies that subaltern peoples sometimes developed to expel the occupiers, and those local elites and creole groups that the occupiers sought to co-opt. Presenting case studies on the Americas, Australia, Africa, Asia, the Ottoman Empire, Imperial Russia, and the Nazi “Third Reich,” leading authorities examine the colonial dimension of the genocide concept as well as the imperial systems and discourses that enabled conquest. Empire, Colony, Genocide is a world history of genocide that highlights what Lemkin called “the role of the human group and its tribulations.”
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About the author

A. Dirk Moses Dirk Moses is chair of global and colonial history at the European University Institute, Florence / University of Sydney. He has published widely on modern Germany and Comparative Genocide Studies. His publications include Genocide and Settler Society (Berghahn Books 2004) and German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past (CUP 2007)

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Additional Information

Publisher
Berghahn Books
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Published on
Jun 1, 2008
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Pages
502
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ISBN
9781782382140
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Language
English
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Genres
History / World
Political Science / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Why did the twentieth century witness unprecedented organized genocide? Can we learn why genocide is perpetrated by comparing different cases of genocide? Is the Holocaust unique, or does it share causes and features with other cases of state-sponsored mass murder? Can genocide be prevented?

Blending gripping narrative with trenchant analysis, Eric Weitz investigates four of the twentieth century's major eruptions of genocide: the Soviet Union under Stalin, Nazi Germany, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and the former Yugoslavia. Drawing on historical sources as well as trial records, memoirs, novels, and poems, Weitz explains the prevalence of genocide in the twentieth century--and shows how and why it became so systematic and deadly.


Weitz depicts the searing brutality of each genocide and traces its origins back to those most powerful categories of the modern world: race and nation. He demonstrates how, in each of the cases, a strong state pursuing utopia promoted a particular mix of extreme national and racial ideologies. In moments of intense crisis, these states targeted certain national and racial groups, believing that only the annihilation of these "enemies" would enable the dominant group to flourish. And in each instance, large segments of the population were enticed to join in the often ritualistic actions that destroyed their neighbors.


This book offers some of the most absorbing accounts ever written of the population purges forever associated with the names Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Milosevic. A controversial and richly textured comparison of these four modern cases, it identifies the social and political forces that produce genocide.

Genocide has scarred human societies since Antiquity. In the modern era, genocide has been a global phenomenon: from massacres in colonial America, Africa, and Australia to the Holocaust of European Jewry and mass death in Maoist China. In recent years, the discipline of 'genocide studies' has developed to offer analysis and comprehension. The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies is the first book to subject both genocide and the young discipline it has spawned to systematic, in-depth investigation. Thirty-four renowned experts study genocide through the ages by taking regional, thematic, and disciplinary-specific approaches. Chapters examine secessionist and political genocides in modern Asia. Others treat the violent dynamics of European colonialism in Africa, the complex ethnic geography of the Great Lakes region, and the structural instability of the continent's northern horn. South and North America receive detailed coverage, as do the Ottoman Empire, Nazi-occupied Europe, and post-communist Eastern Europe. Sustained attention is paid to themes like gender, memory, the state, culture, ethnic cleansing, military intervention, the United Nations, and prosecutions. The work is multi-disciplinary, featuring the work of historians, anthropologists, lawyers, political scientists, sociologists, and philosophers. Uniquely combining empirical reconstruction and conceptual analysis, this Handbook presents and analyses regions of genocide and the entire field of 'genocide studies' in one substantial volume.
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