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Genocide Awareness Series
March 29 @ 4:00 pm
Benjamin Meiches: The Making of Genocide and the Future of Atrocity Prevention
Monday, March 29 | 4 pm | Zoom
Free & open to the public
Benjamin Meiches is an assistant professor of security studies and conflict resolution at the University of Washington-Tacoma. He is the author of “The Politics of Annihilation: A Genealogy of Genocide” (University of Minnesota Press, 2019).
The United Nations Genocide Convention was first created in 1948 and established an official international legal definition of genocide, which is still used by international courts and tribunals. However, the concept of genocide was only invented in 1943, barely five years before the historic creation of this international treaty. During this five year period, the concept of genocide underwent major transformations that permanently altered how we understand the act of genocide today. While genocide is now recognized as one of the world’s most evil acts, the institutionalization of this term came with hidden costs that continue to undermine the efficacy of genocide recognition in contexts as far apart as contemporary Myanmar, Poland, and the United States. Examining the political forces and decisions surrounding the creation of the definition of genocide helps to explain why so few states dedicate resources to this vital issue and why a great number of atrocities never receive significant international attention in the first place.