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11 - Genocide Studies and the Repression of the Political

from Part III - The Language of Transgression, Permanent Security, and Holocaust Memory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 January 2021

A. Dirk Moses
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Summary

The North American and Israeli scholars who founded Genocide Studies in the 1980s and 1990s also insisted on genocide’s Holocaust archetype. These scholars successfully resisted the “conceptual stretching” of genocide to include political criteria in its definition. Domestically, they advocated an apolitical “toleration” pedagogy as genocide’s antidote. The US victory in the Cold War in the early 1990s sidelined the lively critique of the US national security state and gave rise to a new age of interventions. Vietnam-induced doubts were left behind as “the indispensable nation” became the world’s hyper-power. Although the founders of Comparative Genocide Studies were liberals who opposed the Vietnam War, they eagerly adopted the role of academic handmaiden to US global aspirations: the field anointed the US as the benign force to police the non-West in the form of humanitarian interventions to prevent genocide, other “atrocity crimes,” and to wage “war on terror.”

Type
Chapter
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The Problems of Genocide
Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression
, pp. 441 - 476
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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