Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitAustralian Centre for Jewish Civilisation
OfferedCaulfield Second semester 2015 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Noah Shenker


This unit examines the phenomenon of genocide and mass killing in history. The twentieth century has been called 'the century of genocide' but genocidal violence has continued unabated into the new millenium. This unit will ask why genocide takes place and how people come to participate in mass violence. It will focus on case studies of genocide including Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur and the elimination of indigenous populations in the Americas and Australia. The unit will study how the field of genocide studies came to be constituted beginning with the writings of Raphael Lemkin in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Students will research the causes of genocide and reflect on models of genocide prevention.


  1. To understand the origins of the concept of genocide and the social, analytical and ethical issues concerning its usage.
  2. To be familiar with the writings of Raphael Lemkin and other contemporary theoreticians of genocide
  3. To understand how the field of genocide studies came to be constituted as an academic discipline
  4. To be familiar with the historical details of specific cases of genocide from the nineteenth century to the present
  5. To engage with debates about the uniqueness of the Holocaust and its relationship with the concept of genocide
  6. To be familiar with the kinds of archives that enable researchers to study the phenomenon of genocide
  7. To appreciate the development of the international discourse around human rights and genocide prevention
  8. To understand how oral history and testimony can aid our understanding of genocide


Within semester assessment: 70%
Exam: 30%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.