Module Catalogue 2024/25

HIS3235 : Genocide and Justice in the Twentieth Century: From the Armenian Genocide to the International Criminal Court (Inactive)

HIS3235 : Genocide and Justice in the Twentieth Century: From the Armenian Genocide to the International Criminal Court (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Daniel Siemens
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



Mass atrocities and genocide have shaped the history of the twentieth century. The Armenian genocide in the middle of the First World War, the Holodomor and the Holocaust in the 1930s and 1940s, yet also more recent mass atrocities which occurred during the Bosnian War and in Rwanda in the 1990s have not only deeply affected millions of people in the respective regions, but have also captured the global public imagination – at the time of these events but also until much later. The scale of these crimes exceeded what people in previous centuries experienced and imagined and gave way to a new and deeply rooted pessimism that came to associate modernity no longer exclusively with progress (as in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), but also with what is now believed to be the ‘dark side’ of modern civilisation. At the same time, however, did the international community begin to develop mechanism and institutions to enforce human rights on a global scale, to ‘make good’ for the surviving victims of genocide and to hold those responsible accountable. We are thus confronted with a highly ambivalent picture. Against this background, the aim of this module is threefold: to provide students with in-depth factual information about major genocides in the twentieth century, to make them understand how these crimes triggered the development of legal categories and institutions to deal with these events and ideally prevent them from happening in the future, and – finally – to make them aware how closely political, legal and historical studies are interwoven when analysing mass violence and genocide in the twentieth century.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will explore the concept of genocide and its historiographical significance by analysing key events of mass violence in the twentieth century. Seminars focus on a particular topic; students will be expected to read the assigned secondary texts and primary documents in preparation for the seminars. Indicative syllabus; the precise range of topics may vary from year to year.

Topics covered might include: The Concept of Genocide – The Armenian Genocide – The Holodomor – The Holocaust – Contested Legacies of Genocide – Restitution after 1945 (including case studies) – The legal category of “crimes against humanity” – The history of human rights – Making good for past atrocities? The German Case of dealing with the Holocaust – The Second Wave of Holocaust Restitution since the 1990s – The Screbrenica Massacre – The Rwandan Genocide – Genocide in popular culture – The Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and its historiographical impact – Genocide and modernity

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. That students should be able to understand the history of key events of genocide and mass atrocities in the twentieth century and how these events continues to inform collective memory and popular culture.

2. That students should be able to use multiple types of sources to understand why these events are often contested, in international politics as well as in historiography.

3. That students should be able to understand why and how the international community created means and institution to provide justice after mass atrocities (in particular in the second half of the century).

4. That students should be able to think critically about the history and the concept of genocide.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Development of a capacity for critical judgement in thinking about the history and the concept of genocide.

2. Development of research skills in support of this capacity, such as: detailed and critical readings of primary sources (diaries, court records); an engagement with legal as well as popular sources of evidence (including film and literature).

3. To improve interpretation of why nation states remember genocide in very different ways and capacity to analyse mainstream narratives of these events, as presented in museums, galleries, and other cultural and scientific institutions, in Europe but also globally.

4. To achieve effective oral skills of presentation and argument during seminars

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion521:0052:00For 2 assessment components (split as needed)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading661:0066:006 hrs prep tasks per seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching113:0033:00PIP Seminar (primary sources, secondary scholarship, historical and political background)
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities91:009:00Worksheets
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion91:009:00Student-led presentations of primary sources or key concepts
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study311:0031:00General consolidation activities
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

As a special subject, aside from an in-depth understanding of the content of the module, the teaching methods, which focus on small group work, independent research and writing, relate to the core learning outcomes of supporting students in developing research skills across a wide range of sources, being able to synthesise the information they collect and form convincing and coherent arguments.

Independent learning is essential to this module: students are expected to develop skills of source evaluation, critical reading and note-taking in an independent and effective manner. Seminar teaching complements these skills by allowing students the opportunity to share and debate information gathered independently. Oral skills of argument and presentation will be developed. Moreover, a significant part of seminar teaching will test the development of primary source analysis as well as of secondary sources from history and related disciplines, in particular law and politics.

Small group teaching will allow the students to explore ideas and patterns together in a structured way, and great emphasis will be placed on primary sources and their interpretation as well as historiography.
In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to present materials asynchronously and retain timetabled slots for live online discussion of these materials.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination14402A6024 hrs. take home exam. Students to spend 2 hours 15 minutes in total on exam. Indicative word count of 1600.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M402000 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2M10 minutes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam will test students’ ability to acquire a general knowledge of the subject and the ability to focus this knowledge swiftly and succinctly. Exams also assess the ability to problem solve and communicate ideas and arguments in a clear manner.

The essay will test ability to research, develop, and communicate an argument about a particular subject. This calls for both general knowledge and a detailed understanding of sources relating to the course topics.

An oral presentation will encourage the students to develop, and to test, skills that will be invaluable when it comes to applying for and engaging in a career.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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