GENOCIDE STUDIES AS A SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINE – 2019-3

History of origin and development

Summary

Suren A.Manukyan
Today, thirty years after the origin of the genocide studies we can assess the exceptional role it has performed in transforming from a small group of individuals into a field that involves hundreds of scholars and thousands of students, and also is one of the most dynamic and actively growing areas of social sciences.

After the creation of the term “Genocide” by Polish lawyer Rafael Lemkin, this definition was neglected by the scholars, and only a handful of experts continued to use the term in their research. For some time the field of genocide studies was shadowed by the study of the Holocaust, which began to flourish since the mid1960s. In the late 1970s, a group of scholars (L. Kuper, H. Fein, I. Charny, I. Horowitz) began actively to promote the study of genocides and the conference of 1982 in Tel Aviv became visible evidence of the emergence of the discipline.

The end of the Cold War and new genocides that took place in Rwanda and the Balkans drove growing interest to the subject and the development of the field. The search for mechanisms to prevent genocides has become one of the main issues of research, and prevention of genocide became a form of action and public pursuit.

Now genocide is endowed with all the basic attributes of a distinct academic field. Books about genocide are published in the best publishing houses, journals, textbooks, encyclopedias, readers, textbooks bibliographies are appearing permanently, seminars, round tables, conferences, web sites, research centers and international organizations embrace the field. Numerous universities offer courses on this topic. Several theoretical problems are considered, and new approaches are adopted.

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