Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions

Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions

Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions

Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions

Synopsis

The term genocide has been used to describe a wide range of events and polities, from the "final solution of the Jewish question" in Nazi Germany to Western efforts to establish birth control and abortion programs in Third World nations. It is these dimensions of genocide that the authors to this volume explore, in the context both of their historical roots and of the implications for current and future international action. "Thoughtful and well-researched."--

Excerpt

This volume is the result of written papers, informal presentations, and a most lively series of exchanges at a one-day conference entitled Genocide: The Theory -- the Reality, which was held on 16 February 1991 at Yale Law School under the auspices of the Orville H. Schell Center for International Human Rights. The purpose was to bring together both scholars who have examined the conceptual dimensions of genocide and case studies specialists in order to analyze (1) the relevance of various definitions of genocide in law and social theory for the interpretation of a wide range of situations often generically labeled as genocide; (2) the evaluative criteria used in classifying different types of mass killings as genocide; (3) the implications of the conceptual misuse to which the term genocide is prone; and (4) the extent to which specific case studies can credibly highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the aforementioned definitions.

This book is divided into two parts. In the first part, contributors debate the conceptual dimensions of genocide and the implications of varying definitions. In the second part, contributors focus on the relevance of the main theoretical insights to the analysis and evaluation of their respective case studies, which center on the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and beyond, the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, the East Timorese after the Indonesian invasion, and the Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge.

This book could not have come into being without the assistance of a number of people. In particular, I would like to thank Drew S. Days, former director of the Schell Center and current U.S. Solicitor General, for his encouragement and support throughout this project, and Bert Lockwood of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, the Series Editor of the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights, for his strong interest in the project and his indispensable advice. The success of our conference owed much to the invaluable help we received from our administrative assistants Joan Paquette-Sass and Louise Koch. A

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