History of Genocide

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 229

       Course Name: History of Genocide

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course surveys the history, background, causes, definition, events, impact, implications, and nature of genocide.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the essential historical figures, events, and ideas associated with the history of genocide.
  2. Describe the interrelationship among political, economic, cultural, and gender issues in defining the history of genocide.
  3. Evaluate representative works from art, film, literature, and philosophy associated with genocide.
  4. Analyze primary and secondary sources related to the history of genocide.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Introduction to genocide.  Dimensions of the subject. Rafael Lemkin.
Pre-twentieth century genocides.
Genocide as an outgrowth of the international, political, social, economic, and ideological crises of the twentieth century.
Examination of multiple internal and external factors that contribute to ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Armenian genocide
Ukrainian genocide
Nazi Genocide: The  Holocaust
Japanese genocide during World War Two
Genocide in the 21st century: gendercide, current events
Genocide Denial
Prevention, intervention, reconciliation

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:

  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials;
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 15-20 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, book reviews, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing;
  3. Complete quizzes, worksheets, a midterm, and a final exam;
  4. Distinguish between primary and secondary sources as the foundation of modern historical scholarship;
  5. Interpret primary sources critically by analyzing their historical contexts;
  6. Formulate historical interpretations and defend them critically with reference to primary and secondary sources; and incorporate into historical interpretations as an understanding of historical causation knowledge of important figures and events and their chronological relationship to each other and an awareness of the contingent relationships using several variables;
  7. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Gellately, Robert. The Specter of Genocide.
Cheadle, Don and Prendergast John. Not on our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond.
Power, Samantha. A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
Other handouts will either be provided by instructor or students will be asked to download specific information throughout the course.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.