The term “genocide” was coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944, and in 1948 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In this context, our Unit treats prominent atrocities of the twentieth century, but topics of interest extend before and after this period as well beyond the legal definition of genocide. This Unit addresses religious aspects of genocidal conflicts, other mass atrocities, and human rights abuses that have made a deep and lasting impact on society, politics, and international affairs. Unit interests also include instructive lessons and reflections that Holocaust and Genocide Studies can lend to illuminating other human rights violations and instances of mass violence and the construal of genocide within a human rights violation spectrum that allows for the study of neglected or ignored conflicts that include a salient religious element. Our work is interdisciplinary and includes scholars from fields including History, Ethics, Theology, Philosophy, Jewish Studies, Church History, Anthropology, Political Science, Gender Studies, and regional area studies of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
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Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit
Call for Proposals for November Meeting
The Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit is committed to diversity and inclusivity. Pre-arranged panels should reflect gender and racial/ethnic diversity as well as diversity of field, method, and scholarly rank as appropriate.
For a co-sponsored with the Religion and Law Unit, we seek papers on issues of statelessness and lack of citizenship documentation, the violence of states (including their legal bureaucracies and processes thereof) as well as the understanding of statehood as a means of survival. The tensions between utopian, or even religious visions of the unstately and practical aspirations (among those most subject to violence) for the protections of the state will hopefully be addressed.
For a co-sponsorship with Co-sponsored with the Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace Unit, we welcome proposals that engage in discussions about genocide in the context of the 30th anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide. Proposals can include one or more of the following:
- Narratives and commemorations of genocides in Rwanda and Africa.
- The role of Western powers in the genocides "in the margins."
- Comparison and relations between genocides at "Centers" and in the "Margins."
- Interrogation peacebuilding and/or reconciliation in the Global South.
- The legacies of western colonialism in the genocides in Africa.
- The opportunity/problems of comparisons between the genocide in Rwanda and other genocides.
- Afro-American thought and genocides in the Caribbean and Africa.
Prompted by Esra Özyürek’s 2023 book Subcontractors of Guilt: Holocaust Memory and Muslim Belonging in Postwar Germany, we invite proposals that consider genocide in relation to Muslim communities. With an eye to differing global contexts, proposals might address the situation of Muslim minorities or majorities, and may varyingly consider issues of memory or the ongoing experience and perpetration of mass violence.
We invite proposals that consider the politics of comparison related to genocide. In public discourse, the Holocaust has been many times cited (often controversially) in relation to other historical or contemporary phenomena, but we also encourage reflection on the politics of comparison concerning other genocides. Proposals might address the motivation and reception of comparisons, and questions of how to critically weigh up the (in)appropriateness of such comparison-making. The intersections between debates on comparison, notions of historical uniqueness, and the ‘sacrality’ of remembering in particular ways may be considered in this regard.
We seek proposals that address religion and indigenous genocide. Prompted by recent revelations concerning the Residential School system in Canada and their connections with church institutions, we invite proposals that consider indigenous genocide in relation to religious factors among both victims and perpetrators.
Call for Proposals for Online June Meeting
We invite proposals on religion, genocide, and the moving image. Television series and films, such as Holocaust (1978) and Schindler’s List (1993), were crucial events in developing public consciousness of the Holocaust, but alongside reflection on such classic works we seek proposals that address media representations of other genocides, as well as varied media forms such as gaming, VR, and the use of holograms. Attention may be given to the representation of religion through the moving image, or how perceptions of the sacred (and its transgression) feed into the reception of varied media forms.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Lily An Kim, McMaster University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Rebecca Carter-Chand, Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandell Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Yaniv Feller, Wesleyan University1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Kate E. Temoney, Montclair State University1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Alana Vincent, University of Chester1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028