Professor Tomás F. Crowder-Taraborrelli
Soka University of America
International Studies 390.02
Office hours: Ikeda 321- to be announced
Course meets: TR 13:00 to 14:30 Gan. 201
The Holocaust is unique in that it creates a circle of flames around itself, a limit which cannot be crossed because a certain absolute horror cannot be transmitted.
DOCUMENTING INTERNATIONAL MASS ATROCITIES: FROM THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE TO RWANDA
This interdisciplinary course will survey different types of approaches to documentation of international mass atrocity crimes and their effectiveness in supporting social change. One of our objectives will be to establish parallels between events in different areas of the world, strategies of oppression and systematic killing. The instructor assumes that students have certain knowledge of the different cases under consideration and have had the opportunity to reflect upon some of the causes that led to large scale, gross human rights violations. We will utilize a wide designation of the term documentation, often defined as being distinct from personal reflection or the “creative” composition of a fiction writer. We will also consider the writings and testimonies of witnesses, who are often the only ones that have access to crimes.
Critical examination of the readings will begin with a consideration of genre conventions- reveling the way an author builds textual credibility by relying upon or writing against previous texts or “common” forms of knowledge. We will attempt to answer questions such as: How much brutality should documentarians present to their audiences? With what purpose and authority should a documentarian turn mass atrocities into spectacle?
At the beginning of the semester, we will evaluate certain approaches to representation and as the semester progresses we will collaborate (both online and in the classroom) in the formulation of a document that gathers the most important conclusions we come to. The principal approach to the collaborative writing of this document is to evaluate readings in order to build knowledge about international atrocities across genres and disciplines. With this in mind, we will proceed by asking clarifying questions, evaluating documentary sources and considering alternative forms of narrative and representation. The final goal of the course is to be able to synthesize our findings, formulate a complex critique of different processes of documentation and envision collective responses. Students will be encouraged to continue doing research on a particular historical event for the final essay and presentation. In the response forums, students will be graded on their evaluation of the readings and on their understanding of the complexity of causes that lead to international atrocities (cultural beliefs and practices, ethnic clashes, concepts of national identity, etc.). Please come to class with the readings completed and a short, but compelling, list of comments or questions that might trigger an interesting debate about issues central to the course.
STUDENT PROJECTS AND PRESENTATIONS
I propose that students research a particular methodology of documentation. Research will begin after the first week when students choose a historical period/event to research and write their final paper on. At the end of the semester, students will have to write a 10-12 page paper developing their initial inquires by engaging with a few of the readings of the course. With this in mind, we will raise a few questions in the first class which we will attempt to answer throughout the semester. Inevitably, we will come up with new questions as we complete the readings, so as a group we will create a log of our initial findings on a blog on Angel. To insure that everyone has the chance to read your comments, please post them before 9 pm one day prior to our class meeting. I will be happy to discuss with you a prospectus for the essay and help you organize your bibliography.
Please type all written work using a standard 12-point font, double-space the text, leave one-inch margins on all sides, and staple multiple pages. To avoid penalization, paper extensions must be approved before the essay is due. Late work is penalized 5 points (1/2 grade) per day. Please follow the MLA Style format for citations and general style formatting. You can find an online version of the MLA style manual at:
Go to this website and click on the link to the MLA Formatting and Style Guide (on the right hand side of the page).
Assignments and grade breakdown
Five critical responses on discussion forum–Angel (1 page) 30%
Paper (10-12 pages) 30%
Attendance and participation 20%
In grading, I will consider two central aspects of the student’s performance-participation in class discussion and writing. If you have any questions about the writing assignments, please make sure to ask during class time (other students might have similar questions).
Essays: This course fosters rigorous inquiry and critical thinking and promotes effective written argumentation.
A range: This paper is outstanding in form and content. The thesis is clear and insightful; it is original, or it expands in a new way on ideas presented in the course. The evidence presented in support of the argument is carefully chosen and deftly handled. The argument is not only unified and coherent, but also complex and nuanced.
B range: This paper’s thesis is clear; the argument is coherent and presents evidence in support of its points. The argument shows comprehension of the material and manifests critical thinking about the issues raised in the course. The paper is reasonably well written and proofread. The argument, while coherent, does not have the complexity, the insight, or the integrated structure of an A range paper.
C range: This paper has some but not all of the basic components of an argumentative essay (i.e., thesis, evidence, coherent structure): for example, it may offer a thesis of some kind, but it presents no evidence to support this thesis; or it may present an incoherent thesis; or it may simply repeat points made in class without an overall argument. Such a paper is usually poorly organized, written and proofread.
A paper lacking more than one of the basic components of an argumentative essay will earn a grade of “D” or below.
Please make sure to check Angel before each class meeting to see if I have posted any notes about the course or assignments that haven’t been announced in class. I will ask students during the semester to write blogs posts to discuss articles, films or essay prompts.
Accommodation for Persons with a Disability
Student desiring accommodations on the basis of physical learning, or psychological disability for this class are to contact the Office of Student Services. Student Services is located in Student Affairs.
REQUIRED BOOKS AVAILABLE AT THE SOKA BOOKSTORE:
Kafka, Franz. The Penal Colony.
Amery, Jean. At The Mind’s Limits.
Sebald, W.E. The Natural History of Destruction.
Partnoy, Alicia. The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival in Argentina.
1st WEEK: MASS ATROCITIES, GENOCIDE AND EDUCATION (Feb. 11th)
Evans, Gareth. “The Problem: The Recurring Nightmare of Mass Atrocities.” (In Evans pp 11-30 on Angel)
Charny, Israel W. “Worksheet for describing and categorizing a genocidal event.” (on Angel)
Haynes, Stephen R. “Holocaust Education at American Colleges and Universities: A Report on the Current Situation.” (on Angel)
2nd WEEK: ANTICIPATING MASS ATROCITIES, THE CRISIS OF MODERNITY (Feb. 16th)
Kafka, Franz. “The Penal Colony.” (on Angel and in the Bookstore)
Adalian, Paul Rouben. “The Armenian Genocide.” (in Totten pp 53-90 on Angel)
3rd WEEK: THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE (cont.) (Feb. 23rd)
Power, Samantha. A Problem from Hell. (pp. 1-45 on Angel)
Balakian, Peter. Black Dog Of Fate. (on Angel)
FIRST DISCUSSION FORUM: RESPONSES DUE BY SUNDAY AT 8 P.M.
4th Week: THE HOLOCAUST (March 2nd)
Celan, Paul and Nelly Sachs: Selective Poems (on Angel).
Peterson, John. “’Some Gold Across the Water’: Paul Celan and Nelly Sachs.” (on Angel)
Shostakovich, Dmitri. Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar” (recording on reserve in Ikeda Library)
Stier, Baruch Oren. “Different Trains: Holocaust artifacts and the Ideologies of Remembrance.” (On Angel)
Reich, Steve. “Different Trains” (recording on reserve in Ikeda Library)
Resnais, Alain. Night and Fog (DVD film on reserve in Ikeda Library)
5th WEEK: THE HOLOCAUST AND IT”S AFTERIMAGES (March 9th)
Lanzmann, Claude. Shoah: An Oral History of the Holocaust. (On Angel)
Lanzmann, Claude. Shoah. (Sequences screened in class/on reserve in Ikeda Library)
Amery, Jean. At The Mind’s Limits: Contemplations By A Survivor On Auschwitz And Its Realities. (pp. 1-62 in the Bookstore)
Amery, Jean. At The Mind’s Limits: Contemplations By A Survivor On Auschwitz And Its Realities. (pp. 62-103 in the Bookstore)
SPRING BREAK March 15th to 19th
6th Week: AERIAL BOMBING AND THE QUESTION OF DISTANCING (March 23rd)
Amery, Jean. At The Mind’s Limits: Contemplations By A Survivor On Auschwitz And Its Realities. (pp. 62-103 in the Bookstore)
Young, James E. “On Rereading Holocaust Diaries and Memoirs.” (on Angel)
Sebald, W.G. The Natural History of Destruction.(in the Bookstore)
Morris, Errol. The Fog of War (sequences screened in class). Special seminar discussion with Professor Kristi Wilson
7th Week: THE NUREMBERG TRIALS (March 30th)
Tusa and Tusa. The Nuremberg Trials (on Angel)
Stevens, George, dir. Concentration Camp. (Sequences screened in class)
Orgeron, Marsha. “Liberating Images?: Samuel Fuller’s Film of Falkenau Concentration Camp.” (on Angel)
Fueller, Sam, dir. Falkenau: The Impossible- Samuel Fuller bears witness (documentary film online)
Fueller, Sam. Shock Corridor. (Sequences screened in class)
SECOND DISCUSSION FORUM: RESPONSES DUE BEFORE SUNDAY AT 8 P.M.
8th WEEK: VIETNAM (April 6th)
O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. “The things they carried” and “How to tell a true war story.” (On Angel)
Winter Soldier Collective. Winter Soldier (1972). (Sequences screened in class)
9th WEEK: THE CAMBODIAN GENOCIDE (April 13th)
Kiernan, Ben. “The Cambodian Genocide-1975-1979.” (in Totten 339-373 on Angel)
Williams, Paul. “Witnessing Genocide: Vigilance and Remembrance at Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek.” (on Angel)
10th WEEK: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CONDOR PLAN (April 20th)
Alicia Partnoy. The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival. pp 1-73 (Available at the bookstore)
Alicia Partnoy. The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival. pp 73-136 (Available at the bookstore)
11th WEEK: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CONDOR PLAN CONTINUED (April 27th)
Danner, Mark. The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War. (on reserve in Ikeda library)
Gallagher, Hugh Gregory. “Holocaust: The Genocide of Disabled Peoples.” (in Totten, pp 205-271 on Angel)
Rees, Laurence. Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi state. (Sequence screened in class, on reserve in Ikeda library)
THIRD DISCUSSION FORUM: RESPONSES DUE BY SUNDAY AT 8 P.M.
12th WEEK: RWANDA AND THE GENOCIDE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN STOPPED (May 4th)
Greg Barker, dir. The Ghosts of Rwanda (documentary film screened in class)
Pillay, Sukanya. “Video as Evidence” in Sam Gregory’s Video for Change: A Guide for Advocacy and Activism. (on Angel)
Gourevitch, Philip. “The Life After: Fifteen years after the genocide in Rwanda, the reconciliation defies expectations.” (on Angel)
13th WEEK: WAR AND GENOCIDE IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA (May 11th)
Koff, Clea. The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist’s Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. pp. 1-79 (in the Bookstore)
Koff, Clea. The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist’s Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. pp. 79-157 (in the Bookstore)
War Photographer (sequence screened in class)
Sontag, Susan. “Looking at war: Photography’s view of devastation and death.” (on Angel)
Wilkinson, Alec. “Picturing Auschwitz: What does a recently found photo album reveal.” (on Angel)
Special seminar discussion with Professor Ryan Caldwell
Claude, Richard Pierre and Burns H. Weston. Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action. Chapter Five. (on Angel, suggested reading).
Evans, Gareth. “Mobilizing Political Will.” (on Angel, pp 223-241)
Evans, Gareth. “After the Crisis: The Responsibility to Rebuild.” (on Angel, pp 148-174)
Swanson Goldberg, Elizabeth. Beyond Terror: Gender, Narrative, Human Rights. Introduction and Chapter 5. (on Angel)
Amery, Jean. At The Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and its Realities. Indiana University Press, 2009.
Balakian, Peter. Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir. Basic Books, 2009.
Charny, Israel W. Worksheet for Describing and Categorizing a Genocidal Event: A New Tool for Assembling More Objective Data and Classifying Events of Mass Killing. Social Sciences, 2016. 5(3), 31.
Claude, Richard Pierre and Burns H. Weston. Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action. University of Pennsylvania, 2006.
Evans, Gareth. “The Problem: The Recurring Nightmare of Mass Atrocities.” The Responsibility to Protect – Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2008. 11-30. Print.
Gregory, Sam, et al. Video for Change: A Guide For Advocacy and Activism. Pluto Press, 2010.
Gourevitch, Philip. “The Life After: Fifteen years after the genocide in Rwanda, the reconciliation defies expectations.” New Yorker, May 4, 2009. 36-49.
Haynes, Stephen R. “Holocaust Education at American Colleges and Universities: A Report on the
Current Situation.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, (12)2, 1 October 1998. 282–307. Web.
Kafka, Franz. The Penal Colony. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014.
Lanzmann, Claude. Shoah: An Oral History of the Holocaust. New York, NY, U.S.A.: Knopf Publishing Group, 1985.
O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. Mariner Books, 2009.
Orgeron, Marsha. “Liberating Images?: Samuel Fuller’s Film of Falkenau Concentration Camp. Film Quart, (60)2, Winter 2006. 38-47. Web.
Partnoy, Alicia. The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival in Argentina. Cleis Press, 1998.
Power, Samantha. A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Brilliance Audio, 2012.
Sebald, W.E. The Natural History of Destruction. Notting Hill Editions, 2012.
Sontag, Susan. “Looking at war: Photography’s view of devastation and death.” New Yorker, December 9, 2002. Web.
Stier, Baruch Oren. “Different Trains: Holocaust artifacts and the Ideologies of Remembrance.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, (19) 1, 1 March 2005. 81–106. Web.
Swanson Goldberg, Elizabeth. Beyond Terror: Gender, Narrative, Human Rights. Rutgers University Press, 2007.
Tusa and Tusa. The Nuremberg Trials. Skyhorse Publishing, 2010.
Totten, S., et al. Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts. Routledge, 2004.
Williams, Paul. “Witnessing Genocide: Vigilance and Remembrance at Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, (18) 2, 1 January 2004. 234–254. Print.