Holocaust and genocide studies

Holocaust and genocide studiesAvailable as a minor only.

The 20th century has been called ‘the century of genocide’, but genocidal violence has continued unabated into the new millenium. Holocaust and Genocide studies asks students to reflect upon why genocides take place and how people come to participate in mass violence.


Handbook entry: Holocaust and genocide studies

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A Turning Point in Human History

Holocaust and genocide studies explores the Holocaust as a turning point in human history, and its relationship to the broader phenomenon of genocide and mass killing. Students examine the causes and effects of modern genocides, and what is now being done to bring about their prevention.

Beyond the Holocaust

Holocaust and genocide studies challenges students to grapple with the histories of other genocides beyond the Holocaust, including such case studies as Armenia, Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur, as well as questions pertaining to the indigenous populations of the Americas, Africa, Australia and others.

Themes explored across all genocides include: trauma and testimony; the limits of representation; the survivor experience across generations and cultures; the role of the law in adjudicating war crimes; media coverage of atrocity; and the failure to prevent genocide.

Student testimonials

“Participating in the unit Seeking Justice: South Africa and Rwanda was the most rewarding experience of my life to date. I highly recommend it to those with an active interest for reconciliation and justice in post-conflict societies.”

- Verity Gresswell, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws 


“The Seeking Justice: South Africa and Rwanda unit was my first overseas course and the best Monash experience I have ever had. The lectures, tutorials, visits, testimonies and people I met have changed my life forever.”

- Talent Mathe, Bachelor of Arts, Monash South Africa

Intensive study abroad

Holocaust and genocide studies provide a strong offering of overseas units that enable students to integrate their academic inquiry in Australia with intensive on-site study and hands-on experience.

  • Final Journey: Remembering the Holocaust – this unit explores the modern history of European Jews before and after the Holocaust. Students travel to the major centres of interwar Jewish life in Italy, Germany, Poland and Lithuania, and encounter the diverse heritage of Jewish life in each country. Students visit museums, synagogues, cemeteries, destroyed ghettos and sites of mass murder including Auschwitz-Birkenau.
  • Seeking Justice: South Africa and Rwanda – this unit brings together students from Monash campuses in Australia and South Africa to study the contemporary histories of post-genocide and post-conflict societies. Students spend one week in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a second week in Kigali exploring public debates on memory, testimony, trauma and justice.

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