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Redeeming darkness : stories of genocide / Tawia B. Ansah.

Publication | Library Call Number: HV6322.7 .A65 2001

This thesis analyzes the meaning of genocide within legal discourse and cultural narratives. The dissertation treats relations of law and literature in the initial formulation of the concept of genocide in the postwar years and then in its more recent legal and journalistic applications to the violence in Rwanda and in Bosnia. The development of international legal norms, of military and humanitarian intervention, as well as specific instances of mass human rights atrocities within the twentieth century will be discussed alongside the stories, myths and histories around those conflict situations. The thesis will trace the genealogy of the term genocide within the context of the modern nation state, and the term's conceptualization within the contemporary political moment. The thesis will also discuss the needs and expectations, as evident through deployment of the term, of outside observers to violent events, and inquires into the efficacy of the juridical models by which we determine moral and political action in confronting mass violence. In developing these themes, the thesis draws on legal history and legal and cultural theory, which I apply to analyses of journalism, fiction and poetry concerning the Holocaust itself and the later massacres in Rwanda and Bosnia. In so doing, the thesis develops an argument that the Western understandings of these events, as filtered through the idea of genocide, have too often set the Western observer at a safe distance from what is construed as atavistic barbarity—an attitude that allows the law to identify and punish the most obvious criminals while leaving intact and unquestioned larger patterns of responsibility.

Ansah, Tawia B., 1960-
Record last modified: 2018-04-24 16:01:00
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