Since the Holocaust and despite the United Nation's Convention on Genocide, there have been a number of cases of state-sponsored mass murder, including Cambodia, Iraq, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
The issue of how and why it is possible for such events to occur still today has generated a growing body of academic research and of commentary in a variety of public domains, from journals to magazines and newspapers to television documentaries and films. This research and commentary, however, has not always penetrated the public consciousness both at the time or subsequently.
Universities have a significant potential role to play in this respect. They are in a position, within obvious limits, both to raise public awareness generally and more directly to educate successive generations to think seriously about these and related issues. However, although there is a growing amount of research in and around universities across Europe, they have been relatively slow to develop courses in this area and to link the study of mass murder to the wider agenda of assaults on human rights. The universities have also failed to make closer connections between more general public discourse and popular cultural production and what students are (and should be) studying in an era of mass higher education in Europe.
Mrs Penny Tribe
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