This course is an inquiry into the concept of genocide, which takes into account its cultural, socio-political and historical contexts. Which atrocities are included in that concept and why? What is the relation between “genocide” and “human rights”? Does the fact that the term was coined in a specific context (after 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 museum displays, public commemorations, and popular culture. We will look at competing claims from victim groups and ask questions about the impact of racism in targeting specific populations; gender difference in the experience of atrocity; and the role of world powers in deciding about intervention or non-intervention.