Class 1: Jan 2
Class 2: Jan 4
Class 3: Jan 7
Class 4: Jan 9
Class 5: Jan 11
Class 6: Jan 14 MIDTERM
Class 7: Jan 16
Class 8: Jan 18
Class 9: Jan 21
Class 10: Jan 23
Class 11: Jan 25
History 200-0201: Themes in Twentieth Century World History: Genocide and Justice in Historical Perspective
Course Description and Promises:
Class sessions will consist of discussion of shared readings, occasional lectures, films and other media. Because the discussion will build upon the assigned readings, students are required to complete assignments before each class. The instructor will be happy to help with any questions you might have regarding the course.
What Does the Course Promise You?
This class will consider some of the most troubling questions of twentieth century global history – why and how states and peoples within states have embarked upon campaigns of mass murder and violence within and across their borders. How do we define genocide, and what separates it from other forms of violence? Is genocide a particularly “modern” or Western phenomenon? How do individuals bring themselves to participate in acts of mass murder? How have states and groups justified committing such acts, and what are their historical, ideological and political contexts? How after WWII did the international community attempt to prevent the recurrence of genocide and why have such efforts failed so miserably? Do truth commissions, international courts and other accountability processes hold any promise for insuring justice for perpetrators and victims?
We will explore how historians make claims about the past, what constitutes evidence, and how historians make arguments. You should emerge from the course with a better understanding of some of the major developments of modern global history, events that have shaped all of our lives. You should emerge also with an enhanced ability to analyze arguments and to make tentative judgments about other people's judgments. Ideally, the course will help you become a more critically intelligent, creative, and curious person, capable of making rational decisions based on extensive and accurate information.
You are responsible for keeping a copy of each paper or other materials you give me. Do NOT give me your only copy of anything!
Required Texts (Available at the student bookstore):
Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan. The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective
Samantha Powers. A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide
Martha Minnow. Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence
In order to achieve the promises of this course you will
- prepare short written reflections for and participate actively in class discussions
- write an in class and a take home final exam.
I expect all papers and exams to be completed on the assigned due dates. Late exams and assignments will be penalized by one letter grade per day unless arrangements are made in advance and with good reason (good: illness, family emergency; bad: Orioles game, woke up late, American Idol finals last night) .
Academic Integrity: By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory [or for graduate courses, the Graduate School.
Attendance and Participation:
Class participants should complete all readings before class, and come to class with questions raised by what you have read. You will not be able to achieve the promises of this class if you do not attend each class and complete all readings before coming to class.
These are some ground rules we have come up with for participating in discussion
Short Papers and Class Discussion: 20%