This course is a theoretical inquiry into the concept of “genocide,” taking into account its cultural, socio-political and historical determinations. Which atrocities “qualify” to be included in that concept and why? What is the nature of the relation between “genocide” and “human rights”? Does the fact that the term was coined in a specific context (WWII) limit its applicability to non-European phenomena, both prior to and after the war? We will consider several documented instances of genocidal violence and reflect on the relations between “genocide” and the politics of memory, including a variety of representations in museum displays, public commemorations, and popular culture. We will look at competing claims from victim groups and ask questions about the significance of racial differences in targeting a specific population; gender difference in the experience of atrocity; and the role of world powers’ political and economic interests in deciding about intervention or non-intervention.