Genocide studies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Genocide Studies)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Genocide studies is an academic field of study that researches genocide. Genocide became a field of study in the mid-1940s, with the work of Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term "genocide" and is the field's founding father. The Holocaust was initially the primary subject matter of genocide studies, and the field received an extra impetus in the 1990s, when the Rwandan genocide took place.


The beginning of genocide research arose around the 1940s when Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer, began studying genocide.[1] Known as the "father of the genocide convention," Lemkin made the term genocide and studied it during World War II.[2][3] An issue that arose for scholars when looking at the term genocide was what it actually meant.[4] [5] In 1944, Lemkin published a book titled Axis Rule, which is where he introduced his idea of genocide. In chapter nine of his book, he defined genocide as being "the destruction of a nation or ethnic group". After his book was published, controversy broke out concerning the specific definition of genocide. Many scholars believed that genocide is naturally associated with mass murder, the Holocaust being the first case, but there were also several other scholars who believed genocide has a much broader definition and is not strictly tied to the Holocaust.[6] In Lemkin's book, he says that "physical and biological genocide are always preceded by cultural genocide or by an attack on the symbols of the group or violent interference of cultural activities."[7] He concludes that genocide is the annihilation of a group's culture even if the group themselves are not completely destroyed.[8]


Starting off as a side field to the Holocaust studies, a few scholars around the period continued Lemkin's genocide research, and in the 1900s, the field saw a tremendous growth in academic journals such as the Journal of Genocide Research, Genocide Studies and Prevention, and Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung, which is a German academic journal. The major reason for this increase in research can be traced back to the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s. This event showed Western scholars how prevalent genocide was.[9]


The study of genocide connected to gender has not been around that long and is still considered a side to genocide research in general. This small field was ignited after the genocides of Bosnia-Herzegonia and Rwanda where several women were raped and men were sexually abused.[10] Feminist scholars also study the differences between males and females during genocide, by studying the lives of women survivors during the Holocaust.[11]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Bloxham and Moses 2, 22.
  2. ^ Bloxham and Moses 21.
  3. ^ Bloxham and Moses 2,19.
  4. ^ Bloxham and Moses 32.
  5. ^ Bloxham and Moses 32-33.
  6. ^ Bloxham and Moses 32.
  7. ^ Bloxham and Moses 34.
  8. ^ Bloxham and Moses 35.
  9. ^ Bloxham and Moses 2.
  10. ^ Bloxham and Moses 61.
  11. ^ Bloxham and Moses 63.


  • Bloxham, Donald; Moses, A. Dirk, eds. (2010). The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-923211-6.