Course Description


Gendered Representations of Genocide, LIT 350/ GEN 350

Article II of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide “defines genocide as the commission of certain acts with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group” (The United Nations Convention 1948). Starting with theoretical and legal understandings of genocide and studying different examples of it, this course will move into addressing how the experiences of genocide, as well as its literary and cultural representations, are gendered. Through various literary and theoretical readings, the course will look at the ways in which a gendered analysis of genocide has developed, moving away from essentialism, which represents women as passive victims of men’s brutality, and becoming more inclusive by addressing women’s role as perpetrators of genocide as well as men’s victimization. It will also analyze how this gendered analysis plays out in the public sphere through literature, commemorations, monuments, and museums. Students will take part in deconstructing the dominant gender narratives in genocidal contexts. The course includes two mandatory field trips, visiting monuments and museums about the Anfal genocide.


Course Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to do the following:

·         Define genocide and become familiar with various understandings of it;

·         Distinguish the different historical contexts for genocide and identify root causes for conflict leading to it;

·         Analyze the ways that genocide, gender, and representation interact;

·         Critically engage with gendered representations in literature, monuments and museums in post-conflict environments;

·         Evaluate the way literary and cultural representations of gender in the context of genocide impact survivors’ experiences and positions in society.

They will practice critical reasoning by:

•                     Comprehending the difference between opinion and knowledge, description and judgment.

•                     Understanding and analyzing arguments, and making sound arguments of their own.

•                     Joining cause to effect in the social world.

•                     Relating the past to the present and future.


And they will develop skills in:

•                     Translating their reasoning into speaking and writing.

•                     Using appropriate techniques and technology to further their intellectual and creative endeavors.

•                     Express their own opinions, thoughts, reflections, and questions at this point in their lives – knowing that those opinions, thoughts, reflections, and questions will change over time – which is expected for intellectual / philosophical thought process and experience.


Mission Goals


●                   Critical Reading: Analyze, interpret, and synthesize diverse sources of information.

●                   Critical Thinking: Consider problems in a clear, reasoned manner that is informed by evidence and recognizes bias.

●                   Communication: Engage in intellectual debate and present ideas and arguments in a clear, logical manner in writing and speech.

●                   Research: Define and execute original research projects based on a solid understanding of social scientific theories and methods.

Skill Level: Beginner