General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title ECOCIDES AND GENOCIDES. A Planetary Perspective
Language English
Module lecturer prof. dr hab. Ewa Domanska
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position profesor
Faculty Faculty of History
Semester 2021/2022 (winter)
Duration 30


Module aim (aims)

This course intends to explore the relationship between history, environment and various eco- and geno-cides. It will discuss comparative approaches to genocide studies and the problem of the universalization of the notion of holocaust, its usage to integrate Native American history and nuclear holocaust into genocide studies, and the ethical dilemmas posed by the idea of "animal holocaust." While the focus of the course is theoretical and methodological, the case of different forms of mass-killings will be examined in order to discuss a problem of survival value of knowledge.Topics of the seminar will include: genocide and ecocide studies in the framework of Antropocene Humanities; genocides as human suicide/self-extinction; strategies of dehumanization (humans and insects); paradigms of genocides; comparisons between (human and animal) holocausts and slavery (human and animal); ecocide as environmental ”holocaust”; Native Americans’ spiritual holocaust or/and environmental genocide; nuclear holocaust (Hiroshima); post-catastrophic spaces as ecological Eden (Chernobyl) - nature without humans.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Advanced knowledge of English; scholarly interests in the ecological humanities, genocide studies, extinction of species, climate change and anthropogenic natural disasters


1. Introduction2. Genocide and Ecocide Studies in the Framework of Anthropocene Humanities? Paul Crutzen, “Geology of Mankind.” Nature, vol. 415, 3 January 2002: 23.? documentary movie: "Welcome to the Anthropocene."3. Genocides and Modernity? Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide, Alexander Laban Hinton. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002 (chapter 1: “Dark Side of Modernity”: 1-40).4. Dehumanization? Nick Haslam, "Dehumanization: An Integrative Review." Personality and Social Psychology Review, vol. 10, no. 3, 2006: 252-264.? Giorgio Agamben, Anthropological Machine, in his, The Open: Man and Animal, trans. by Kevin Attell. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004: 33-38.5. Humans and Insects? Edmund Russell, "Anihilation (1943-1945)," in his, War and Nature. Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2001: 119-144.? Hugh Raffles, "Jews," in his, Insectopedia. New York: Pantheon Books, 2010: 141-161.6. Genocides - comparative perspective ? James P. Sterba, “Understanding Evil: American Slavery, the Holocaust, and the Conquest of the American Indians”. Ethics, vol. 106, no. 2, January 1996: 424-448.? Robert Melson, “Paradigms of Genocide: The Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and Contemporary Mass Destructions.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 548, November 1996: 156-168.7. Nuclear Holocaust (Hiroshima)? James H. Foard, "Imagining Nuclear Weapons: Hiroshima, Armageddon, and the Annihilation of the Students of Ichijo School ". Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol. LXV, no. 1, 1997: 1-18.? Peter Del Tredici, “Hibaku Trees of Hiroshima.” Arnoldia, vol. 53, no. 3, Fall 1993: 24-29.? Fabio Gygi, "The Memory That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Memory, Monsters and Oblivion in Japanese Popular Culture." Semiotic Review, thematic issue 2: Monsters, 2016? John Rocco Roberto, ”Japan, Godzilla and the atomic bomb. A Study into the Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Japanese Pop Culture.”8. Genocide and Native American History/Spiritual Holocaust? Ward Churchill, Struggle for the Land. Native North American Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide and Colonization. City Lights Books, 2002 (“Introduction” and “I am Indigenist”: 15-29; 367-402).? Russell Means, “For America to Live, Europe Must Die” (1980)9. Animal Holocaust? Charles Patterson, Eternal Treblinka. Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. London: Lantern Books, 2002: 223-232.? David Sztybel, "Can the Treatment of Animals be Compared to the Holocaust." Ethics and Environment , vol. 11, no. 1, 2006: 97-132.? Nathan Snaza, "(Im)possible Witness: Viewing PETA'a 'Holocaust on Your Plate." Animal Liberation Philosophy and Policy Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2004: 1-20.10. Ecocide as Environmental ”Holocaust”? Nathalie de Pompignan, Ecocide. Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, 2007.? David Zierler, Invention of Ecocide. Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the Scientists Who Changed the Way We Think About the Environment. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011 (“Introduction” and chapter 2 “An Etymology of Ecocide”: 1-32).? Mapping Ecocide11. Ecocide, Colonialism and Global Capitalism? Franz J. Broswimmer, Ecocide. A Short History of the Mass Extinction of Species. London: Pluto Press, 2002 (“Introduction” and “The Modern Assault of Nature: The Making of Ecocide”; “The Planet as Sacrifice Zone” and “Ecocide and Globalization”: 1-9; 54-69; 70-102).? Damien Short, "The Genocide-Ecocide Nexus", in his, Redefining Genocide. Setller Colonialism, Social Death and Ecocide. London: ZED Books, 2016: 38-67.? watch a 2009 interview with Davi Kopenawa, shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami of the Brazilian Amazon, on the threat posed to South American Indians by loggers, miners, and climate change12. Genocides and Ecocides as Human Suicide (or self-extinction)? Tarik Kochi & Noam Ordan, “An Argument for the Global Suicide of Humanity.” Borderlands, vol. 7, no. 3, 2008.13. Conclusions: How Historians Can Help Save the Planet?? Richard C. Foltz, "Does Nature Have Historical Agency? World History, Environmental History, and How Historians Can Help Save the Planet"?" The History Teacher, vol. 37, no. 1, November 2003: 9-28.14. Conclusions

Reading list

As indicated in the syllabus.