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Holocaust and genocide studies is focus of new master’s programme

28 January 2011

Holocaust and genocide studies is a growing field of research with broad international relevance. As of the autumn term of 2011, Uppsala University will offer a new, English-language master’s programme within the field. The programme aims to equip students with the tools required for understanding and analysing genocide and mass violence in terms of the relevant historical and cultural contexts.

The field is concerned with the violent developments that have most often arisen in connection with severe social crises, new state formation, mobilisation of ethnic identities, colonial processes and modernisation. Although instances of full-blown genocide are rare, the dynamics of mass violence are universal and, as such, interesting and important in a wide variety of contexts.

During the 1990s, the study of genocide and genocide-like violence received new impetus worldwide. The end of the Cold War and fall of the Iron Curtain set the stage for new perspectives on the politics of extermination pursued by Nazi Germany against the Jews of Europe. The collapse of the Yugoslavian government and state set off a horrific process of violence, pitting friends and neighbours against one another. The term “ethnic cleansing” first came into use to describe this course of events. At about the same time, a similar yet more extreme outbreak of deadly violence along ethnic lines took place in Rwanda.

Research into genocide has been conducted at Uppsala University since 1998 and has resulted in a large number of research publications in important international contexts. In the autumn of 2009, the Hugo Valentin Centre was founded at the University as a place for such research.

The new master’s programme features an interdisciplinary breadth that is without international parallel. The programme aims to provide students with the tools necessary for understanding and analysing the processes that underlie genocide, genocide-like violence and mass violence. The complex social and psychological dynamics at the root of genocide and mass violence in specific historical, cultural and political contexts are emphasised, along with the consequences for societies and individuals.

One- and two-year courses of study are offered within the framework of the programme, which provides unique opportunities for advanced study of specific historical cases chosen by teachers on the basis of their special qualifications.

Read programme information.

Read more about the Hugo Valentin Centre and the research conducted there.

More information is also available by calling Madeleine Sultán Sjöqvist, ThD, at +46-18-471 23 67; by calling Ivana Macek at +46-18-471 57 75; or by writing to the Hugo Valentin Centre via