College initiates Holocaust and Genocide Studies program

Adam Jones presented his interpretation of gen-ocide through photos and his new textbook. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

By Jenna Rose

The College’s newest program, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, received a chance to gain a larger audience this past week. Genocide studies scholar and accomplished author Adam Jones hosted a crowded seminar titled “Studying Genocide, Preventing Genocide” on Wednesday, Feb. 16 in the Library Auditorium to inaugurate the College’s new Holocaust and Genocide Studies program.

Jones, who currently teaches at the University of British Columbia and directs Gendercide Watch, a non-governmental organization devoted to preventing and confronting acts of mass gender-based killings, spoke mostly about the importance of teaching genocide.

Genocide studies, according to Jones, institutes both an intellectual and activist component.

“We do it because we want to stop it … the question is not only how we can actually teach genocide … but how can we advocate for anti-genocide studies,” Jones said.

Jones went on to talk in detail about the composition and aspects of the new edition of his textbook, “Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction.” Instead of studying genocide in merely one realm of study (such as in a historical perspective), Jones instead chose to look at genocide in a “profoundly interdisciplinary” manner.

While many textbooks are filled with jargon and written with the highly skilled academic scholar in mind, Jones said his textbook is read by students as young as the age of nine all the way up to graduate students. Jones’s goal was to educate readers across a broad spectrum.

Jones’ interpretation of genocide through the pictures included in his text are not merely the quintessential heaps of dead bodies but poignant and less gruesome pictures.

“(I wanted) to show genocide not head on, but inflicted in the faces and expressions of others,” said Jones, who presented readers with a picture of mournful attendees of a memorial ceremony.

Jones also included a picture of a crowd of Hitler Youths attending a Nazi Pride Parade. Jones said the scene included senses of both “normalcy” and “surrealness.”

The seminar was attended by both professors and students, many of whom stayed for a question-and-answer period after Jones’s seminar.

“He definitely shed some new light,” Marisa Schweber, senior English major, said. He showed genocide as an academic discipline rather than just statistics and facts.”

Jones’s goal is not only to educate the public on genocide, but also to prevent it. Near the end of his lecture, Jones quoted communist leader Joseph Stalin: “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” Jones showed that genocide is more than a “crime against humanity, but a crime against us all.”