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date: 18 April 2019

Summary and Keywords

Genocide is an interdisciplinary problem for scholars; no single academic discipline has yet taken on the study of genocide in a serious, systematic, and significant way, let alone placed an exclusive claim on it. The historical development of the genocide literature begins with the emergence of Holocaust studies, and the word “genocide” itself was coined in 1944, during World War II. Comparative genocide studies were later developed, in addition to the post-Cold War explosion in the second generation literature on genocide. The scholarly questions on genocide that have been fairly well settled—at least to a certain extent—have to do with core elements of the definition of genocide. This literature, in short, focuses on three principal concerns: definition, explanation, and prevention. What emerges out of the genocide literature over the years is consensus on the fact that genocide is the destruction of people as members of a group. They are differences over which groups should be covered by the definition—for instance, political and socioeconomic groups—but not on the fact that the victims have been targeted because of their group identity, and no other reason. To supplement the scholarship on genocide, future research agendas might include a careful study of the growing transnational antigenocide movement, a comparative analysis of genocide leaders, and many more.

Keywords: genocide, genocide literature, comparative genocide studies, genocide definition, group identity

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