2013 Inquiry Seminars

Beyond Genocide: Help and Hope

Amy Watkin

The “Beyond Genocide” Inquiry Seminar will involve reading books, researching, and viewing films about various genocides, possibly including: Armenia, the Holocaust, indigenous peoples of Australia and the Americas, Cambodia, Iraq, Serbia, Rwanda, and Darfur. Background information, history, and personal accounts are integral to this course, serving as a springboard for some difficult questions we can pursue together:

What would compel Germans to become Nazis, or Rwandan Catholics to murder neighbors?

At what point do propaganda, fear of punishment, and desire to protect your own supersede the core of your value system? What is God’s role here? How does a religious perspective help or hinder in the aftermath?

What can Americans as relative outsiders do to help before, during, and after genocide occurs? Can we ever fulfill the 1945 promise of “Never again”?

We will talk about the idea of service and investigate organizations and people who offer guidance, assistance, and justice for victims, perpetrators, and subsequent generations. Studying genocide is not about violence or grotesque voyeurism. Thinking critically about genocide will give students a taste of the world, a glimpse of the past, the rhythm of current events, and the accessibility of hope. OC