Modern Genocide: Understanding Causes and Consequences is an invaluable online resource that presents comprehensive information and unique insights into modern genocide, focusing on the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. Through our ABC-CLIO, Greenwood, and Praeger imprints, we have a long history of publishing genocide and Holocaust-related books for students, scholars, and the lay public. We felt the next logical step in educating students on this critically important topic was developing the most comprehensive and reliable genocide electronic solution available today.
To negotiate the complexities of genocide and Holocaust studies we have assembled an advisory board for this electronic resource. The genocide advisory board guides our editorial team every step of the way as we develop the content and make the difficult choices of what to include (and not include) in this product.
The first issue our advisory board decided on is that we would adhere to the widely accepted United Nations' definition of genocide, which is included in the UN Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide that was adopted in 1948
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Based on this definition, we have included the following genocides in the main section of this online resource: Armenia (1915), Bosnia (1992-1995), Cambodia (1975-1979), Darfur (2003-2006), East Timor (1975-1999), Guatemala (1981-1983), the Holocaust (1941-1945), Kurdistan (1988), Namibia (Herero, 1904-1907), and Rwanda (1994).
The UN definition of genocide is imperfect and has been interpreted in various ways by politicians to rationalize their own agendas. There is tremendous debate over what constitutes genocide. At least one scholar has argued that there are only three historical case studies that can truly be termed genocide: Armenia, the Holocaust, and Rwanda. Critics might argue that there is no justification for including Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur, East Timor, Guatemala, Kurdistan or Namibia (Hereros) in this database. For these latter cases, the applicability of the UN Convention on Genocide can be debated or questioned, but we should certainly not discount them. We also should not dismiss other events that some consider genocide. For that reasons, we have included hundreds of reference entries on other atrocities, massacres, and war crimes that do not neatly fit the UN definition of genocide.
Some scholars place "intentionality" at the forefront of their genocide definitions. In other words, they believe that an event only qualifies as genocide if there is proven intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. Unfortunately, there is often no "smoking gun" that leads back to the government or groups responsible for genocidal violence, making it difficult to prove "intent to destroy" a certain people based on their nationality, race, ethnicity, and/or religion. However, in criminal law a repeated pattern of actions resulting in the same outcome is frequently adjudged to infer intent on the part of a perpetrator, regardless of an expressed statement of intent. It is therefore the judgment of our advisory board that the events in Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur, East Timor, Guatemala, Kurdistan and Namibia (Hereros) all clearly fit into this category.
Some of the images and video included in the database may be too graphic for some students. In those cases, we have included a warning in the summary that appears when those images and videos appear in search results.
Database Content Selection and Curation
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Some of the materials we present in our Commentaries and other curriculum pieces blend scholarly hypotheses with supporting evidence. They are designed to teach students the art of formulating informed theses and to stimulate discussion of the arguments presented. Our expert authors are asked to craft well-reasoned arguments from their particular points of view. As a result, these pieces can be challenging, even controversial. The opinions represented do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ABC-CLIO staff.
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Objectivity and balance are always of the utmost importance to our staff, both in writing pieces and editing work submitted by contributors. We are guided by our editorial boards and advisers, as well as our own editorial policies and fact-checking procedures. Recognizing that every person has inherent bias, we strive toward creating and curating content that is as factual and as free of bias as possible, and have included bias checks and balances as an essential part of our editorial review.
As a reference publisher, ABC-CLIO aims to present impartial, scholar-driven content supplemented by full collections of primary sources in their original forms. These sources offer historical context and value in enhancing students' understanding of how modern ideas, beliefs, and societal structures are influenced by our past—including prejudices and biases. Primary sources, as fragments of history, often reflect attitudes and values of individuals in particular time periods. Acknowledging dehumanizing language, for example, can be an important part of understanding historical events.
Some of this content may be upsetting or disturbing to modern readers, but we have avoided censoring such terminology in order to both retain historical accuracy and to offer opportunities for students to make connections between past attitudes and ideas, and their roles in shaping many contemporary issues in American society.
We flag instances of harmful terminology and potentially disturbing images with content warnings and encourage teachers to set guidelines for approaching such content in the classroom, especially where material may be quoted or read out loud.
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The Modern Genocide
Judy Fay, Sr. Director, Solutions
Julie Dunbar, Manager, Editorial Development
Nita Lang, Editorial Specialist
Jennifer Hutchinson, Sr. Writer/Editor
Tamara Johnson, Writer/Editor
Ellen Rasmussen, Sr. Media Editor
Troy Martin, Vice President, Operations
Susan Basch, Sr. Developer
Chris Martinich, Developer
Eelco Vrolijk, Sr. Developer
Neal Schaefer, Director, Product and Content Management Systems
Photo Credits: Home Page Carousel
Herero Genocide – Dr. Fatima Mueller-Friedman
Armenian Genocide – Library of Congress
Holocaust – AP Photo/Shiho Fukada
Cambodian Genocide – Corel
East Timor Genocide – UN Photo
Guatemalan Genocide – AP Photo/Luis Soto
Kurdish Genocide – AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed
Bosnian Genocide – AP Photo/Amel Emric
Rwandan Genocide – UN Photo/John Isaac
Darfur Genocide – Scott Nelson/Getty Images