World History Connected Home    
Home List journal issues Table of contents
Printer-friendly format  Article citation        

Comparative Study of Genocide


Introduction: Forum on the Comparative Study of Genocide

Jason Bruner


     In the following forum on the comparative study of genocide, we first establish that comparative work is analytically and pedagogically crucial to the study of genocide, while arguing that survivor testimony is an essential and important source for grounding comparative work. We accomplish this by orienting a review of scholarly literature around two critical questions: How closely must events resemble the Holocaust in order to be recognized as "genocide"? Is it possible to think comparatively about multiple genocides without creating hierarchies of suffering on the one hand and shallow parallels on the other? We next suggest that digital humanities tools can facilitate comparative research on genocide testimony, and, finally, that these tools can be made pedagogically useful for teachers and students seeking to learn about various genocides. To that end, this forum includes an annotated resource guide of scholarship and digital resources pertaining to the study of genocide and settler colonialism. We contend that this methodological combination can produce a comparative approach to the study of genocide that is both analytically rigorous to scholars as well as pedagogically accessible to students, including high school students. As an example, we discuss a pilot program with high school students and teachers (11th–12th grade) who engaged in historical analysis of survivor testimonies using comparative themes. We also provide and discuss the analytical tool that we developed to guide such work.

Jason Bruner is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. His first book, Living Salvation in the East African Revival in Uganda, is forthcoming with University of Rochester Press.


Home | List Journal Issues | Table of Contents
© 2017 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Content in World History Connected is intended for personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, modify, create derivative works from, display, or in any way exploit the World History Connected database in whole or in part without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Terms and Conditions of Use