The 20th century can be seen as a century of genocide. Never before in the history of humankind were so many people killed or their culture destroyed on the grounds of their descent and ethnic affiliation. Unfortunately it is likely that genocide will be serious policy option for some political leaders in the future. Understanding the causes of genocide is therefore not only of academic interest, but will also enable action to be undertaken, which, while may not preventing genocide from taking place, will allow for timely and humane responses to this most fundamental of crimes against humanity.
In 1904, the first genocide of the 20th century took place in German South West Africa (Namibia). In order to commemorate this event and to put this historical milestone into perspective, a conference will be held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin between 13th and 15th January 2005. Starting from the genocide committed in Namibia 100 years ago the conference aims to come to an informed understanding regarding the origins of genocide. Issues to be dealt with in the conference relate to, amongst others, definitions and problems of comparison, the roots of genocide, genocide and the state, singularities and continuities, genocide and law and genocide, memory and identity.
For the conference a series of internationally renowned researchers on genocide from Australia, Canada, Germany, Namibia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, have been invited to present their research. In order to facilitate a truly comparative approach, they will give papers on structural features of genocide rather than on specific cases. This focus will identify theoretical and typological linkages between genocides in history. The selection will enable the conference to come to, not only an empirically, but also - and more importantly - a theoretically informed comparison between genocides. (http://www.hist.net/ag-genozid/namibianwar)
The conference will also serve as a the foundation meeting of a European network of genocide scholars (http://hist.net/ag-genozid/enogs).
In order to promote discussion and scholarly exchange between the generations, we invite graduate students who are about to finish their thesis or have done so recently to present posters on their research. We are open to a broad range of topics, which include historical analysis (Armenia, Holocaust, Rwanda….) as well as questions of prevention, legal prosecution or reparations. If you are interested in presenting your research, please send a one page abstract and a short c.v. before December 12th to:
Dr. Juergen Zimmerer
Tel.: + 49 (0) 201-1834463
Fax.: + 49 (0) 201-1832659
Prof. Dr. Andreas Eckert