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HYM4470 - Genocide and colonialism

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate, Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Bain Attwood


Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)


In this subject we consider the origins of the term 'genocide' and the different ways in which it has been defined before considering whether the concept might be a useful tool for understanding aspects of colonialism in two settler societies, colonial America and Australia: epidemic diseases; frontier violence; and assimilation (particularly the removal of indigenous children). The unit will consider whether there are any continuities or causal connections between intellectual and political traditions associated with European imperialism and the Nazi German genocide of European Jewry, and will investigate the public reception of the concept of genocide in Australia and the United States.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be expected to:

  1. have an understanding of the different ways in which genocide has been defined
  2. appreciate the possible relationships or connections between colonialism in settler societies and the Nazi genocide
  3. have an understanding of the debates which have occurred about the application of the concept of genocide to the history of settler societies
  4. have a capacity to undertake higher level research in the subject area of this unit


Tutorial participation: 10%; Short essay (3000 words): 30%; Research essay (6000 words): 60%

Contact hours

1 two-hour seminar for 12 weeks


HSY4470, HYM5470

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