GPC Course Descriptions

Course descriptions are included below or you may also click here to view the descriptions for GPC courses.

Online Genocide Prevention Certificate Course Descriptions

MAHG/GPC 5033 Genocide Prevention Research Seminar (Elisa von Joeden-Forgey)
In this research seminar students will pursue independent research on a specific country and a subject related to the genocide prevention protocols outlined in the UN Framework for Atrocity Prevention (2012). Through small group Skype meetings as well as optional trips to NYC, topics and research progress will be discussed with the course instructor as well as with staff from the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention. Students’ final reports for the course will be deposited with the UN Office.

MAHG/GPC 5037 Perpetrator Behavior: Implications for Genocide and Mass Atrocity
Prevention (James Waller)
This course will focus on perpetrator behavior and motivation in genocide and mass atrocity. Case studies, also focusing on the judicial consequences, will be drawn from the Holocaust, Cambodia, Latin America, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and child soldiers. In addition to understanding how ordinary people come to commit genocide and mass atrocity, this course will focus on the implications of that understanding for prevention of such extraordinary evil.

MAHG/GPC 5038 Early Prevention of Mass Atrocities (Tibi Galis)
This course will offer answers to some crucial questions regarding the prevention of mass atrocities before the risk of atrocities taking place is high: What does atrocity prevention look like before the risk is imminent? What is the role of the UN, the US Government, and other international peacebuilding actors? How does the creation of international norms, such as R2P, impact early prevention efforts? How do governments and civil society within the country at risk ensure that latent tensions do not escalate? Beyond the international frame for prevention, the course will focus in detail on the overlap between human rights policy, educational policy and economic policy and their relationship with the prevention of mass atrocities.

MAHG/GPC 5039 Aftermath: Transitional Justice and Collective Memory in the Wake
of Genocide (Kerry Whigham)
Every post-genocidal and post-conflict society faces the difficult decision of how it will deal with a violent past in order to promote a more peaceful present and future. Given the susceptibility of past violence to erupt into new hostilities when it goes unaddressed, the way a society understands and responds to its own past can indeed be a force for prevention of future genocide and atrocities. This course will examine the various ways societies can and have dealt with past violence and human rights abuses–a field otherwise known as transitional justice. The course will focus both on traditionally recognized modes of transitional justice (criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, institutional reform, and reparations), but also more novel forms that are not as often discussed (memorialization and the creation of memory sites, cultural outreach, economic reform, and education). We will develop a deeper understanding of “collective memory” and its role in transitional justice and prevention. Finally, the course will place a special emphasis on the (potential) role of civil society and grassroots activism in shaping transitional justice strategies.

MAHG/GPC 5040 Religion and Genocide Prevention (Carol Rittner)
Religion & Genocide Prevention will examine the intersection between religion and mass atrocity crimes, including genocide, and genocide prevention. What is genocide prevention? What is religion? Does religion help to normalize genocide by providing myths of ultimate redemption or rationales for annihilation? Are there specific theological ideas particularly important to the perpetrators of genocide and mass atrocity crimes? What about to those who tried to prevent genocide? These are some of the questions we will explore, examine, and discuss in this course.

MAHG/GPC 5046 Genocide Prevention and the Law (Irene Massimino)
Justice processes are essential elements in genocide prevention. States, both at the national and international levels, have understood the need to develop a justice system of accountability and responsibility for the crime of genocide and other international crimes.  The relevance of these processes not only lies in building a legal truth but also in helping to develop our historical truth and memory and to begin the healing process of victims through their formal and public recognition. Therefore, this course aims to offer a broad overview of all international law related to the crime of genocide and to analyze the different types of justice processes, such as the International Criminal Court, international and mixed special tribunals, and all national processes (special courts and the ordinary justice system). A critical analysis of each of these courts and processes will seek to determine their advantages, disadvantages, and collective challenges in a world that has not yet been able to prevent genocide

MAHG/GPC 5048 National Mechanisms for Genocide Prevention (Tibi Galis and Samantha Capicotto)
National mechanisms for the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities are officially established bodies that include representatives from different areas of government relevant to the prevention of atrocity crimes. They are bodies that are created more and more often to prevent atrocities in different regions of the world. This course will explore their mandates, their structures and their challenges in effectively preventing atrocities. The course will provide students with the tools to critically assess how national mechanisms perform and how national mechanisms can be developed within different societies.

MAHG/GPC 5000 History of the Holocaust (MAHG Faculty)
This course will examine the historical events and context which led to the rise of Hitler and fascism, the ideology of Nazism, and the political structures of National Socialist rule in Germany, as well as the roots of anti-Semitism, the implementation of the Final Solution, the structure and purpose of the ghettos and death camps, efforts to resist the Nazis, the actions and motivations of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders in various European countries, and efforts to help and rescue Jews and other victims of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Some attention also will be given to the aftermath of the Holocaust and attempts to bring major Nazi criminals to justice.

MAHG/GPC 5001 History of Genocide (Elisa von Joeden-Forgey)
In this course we will seek to address the challenge of an “early warning system” through the historical study of modern genocide with an emphasis on the historical connections between various cases of genocide. We will also examine causes of genocidal processes, possible preventative measures, and social healing after the fact. Particular focus will be on the Ottoman Armenians, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina, but other cases will also be examined, including the genocides of indigenous populations during the era of European expansion, of Kurds in Iraq, of Mayan Indians in Guatemala, of East Timorese under Indonesian domination, of Muslims in Kosovo, and of Darfuris in Sudan. Using scholarly texts, fiction, film, and other media, we will discuss the definition of genocide and its representation, the long- and short-term historical contexts that enable genocide, the question of the uniqueness of the Holocaust and the value of “comparative genocide studies,” the problem of prevention and intervention, and the relationship between genocide and other forms of social and political violence.