Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Daniel Chirot
SIS 337
Seattle Campus

Collective Violence and the State

Comparative study of how and why genocides have occurred in modern times. Examines how ethnic, religious, and nationalist conflicts have sometimes led to violent conflict, and how political leaders and governments have mitigated or exacerbated them, sometimes engaging in state sponsored mass killing. Offered: jointly with POL S 337.

Class description

We will seek to understand why politically inspired, state sponsored genocidal mass murder occurred in the twentieth century. Four of the worst cases will be examined: the Nazi Holocaust, Stalinís starvation policies and mass purges in the Soviet Union, the destruction of a quarter of Cambodiaís population by the Khmer Rouge, and the Rwandan genocide. While the course will bring up some other cases, these four will be the main topics of the readings, films, and lectures. By the end of the course students will have a better understanding of why these events took place, what the consequences were, and what might have been done, if anything, to prevent them.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

There will be three books to read and many films to watch, all designed to give students a sense of what it was like to be caught in these nightmarish situations. Students will write very short essays of one page about each film viewed in class. There will also be a mid-term and a final exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 01/24/2012