Posts by: Bridget Conley

It is no accident that a museum would provide the context for an unexpected and powerful human rights intervention. And, although Wiesel’s provocation cannot be understood absent the particular circumstances of Holocaust memorialization and contemporary genocide, the inherent potential of museums to spark new forms of human rights activism is not limited to this framework. In the years since 1993, museums are increasingly testing the waters of engagement on human rights issues.

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World peace today is too often viewed as a topic of the fuzzy-headed; serious people speak of security, stability or conflict resolution. This was not always the case. We are launching a regular blog feature highlighting historical examples of diverse voices and perspectives on peace.

We begin today with a speech from U.S. President John [...]

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The field of genocide and mass atrocities studies has produced significant contributions to knowledge of where, when and why campaigns of large-scale, one-sided violence occur, but offers relatively few explicit examinations of the political, social and military dynamics of the de-escalation of violence. This simple question remains unexplored: how do mass atrocities end?

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Raoul Hilberg’s work on the Holocaust introduced into historical analysis of atrocity a set of subject positions borrowed from the language of criminal law—perpetrator and victim—augmented with a term to capture those whose actions and inaction elude juridical distinctions, bystander. These “subjects” along with rescuer and survivor form the characterology of genocide as inherited from [...]

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It would be unreasonable to argue that there are inherent contradictions between the idea of protecting “civilians” and protecting “populations”—and yet today there is an effort to separate these terms for political reasons. In this essay, we look at some of the subtle differences between these two subjects of mass atrocities, and address why, at [...]

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This essay is part two of a series on “The subjects of mass atrocities.” Part one can be found here.

Studying violence under the rubric of genocide offers one contribution above all others: attention to the ways that violence is targeted at and experienced as a group. The term was coined in [...]

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