Genocide Program

If the 20th century, which as been called “the century of genocide,” ended with the horrors of Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo, genocidal violence has continued unabated into the new millennium, as illustrated by Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and most recently Syria and Iraq. Such genocidal violence constitutes one of the most pressing challenges the world faces and raises a number of related questions: How does genocide come to take place? What motivates people to participate in such violence? How is genocide represented, coped with, and remembered? How might it be prevented?

CGHR’s Genocide Program seeks to answer such questions by: (a) supporting cutting-edge research and scholarship that enhances our understanding of genocide, (b) promoting dialogue between academics, practitioners, and activists from around the world working on this topic, (c) creating educational initiatives and opportunities for the next generation, and (d) offering university and community programming that supports the aforementioned goals. The Genocide Studies and Prevention Program includes a wide range of projects and initiatives, ranging from case-specific initiatives, such as the Cambodian Genocide Memory Project and the Armenian Genocide Project, to research clusters on Forgotten Genocides, Critical Genocide Studies, and Genocide Prevention. CGHR also hosts a Rutgers University Press book series on these issues.

Our Genocide Program honors the memory of Raphael Lemkin, the scholar/activist who coined the term genocide and worked tirelessly for its criminalization in international law, an effort that was critical to the passage of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Lemkin taught at Rutgers-Newark in the mid-1950s, creating a tradition of interest in grappling with global challenges at the university. Accordingly, the Program has launched the Raphael Lemkin Project, which includes a related bibliography and digital interviews with people who knew Lemkin. In 2013, CGHR launched the UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention, which centers on a regular thematic. In addition, CGHR has designated 2015-16 the "Year of Lemin" to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the year he taught at Rutgers.