ABSTRACT

Genocide quite clearly features throughout human history and probably extends well into prehistory. With the global division of the world among the western imperial powers, beginning about 500 years ago, people have witnessed an interconnected series of genocides on a previously unprecedented scale and overwhelmingly against indigenous populations worldwide. These western genocidal conquests were facilitated by technological advances, particularly in the fields of shipbuilding, navigation, and firearms, which lent the West a special prominence in patterns of imperial conquest and genocide. It is still the most synoptic treatment in the genocide-studies literature of the western involvement in genocide and crimes against humanity around the world. Raphael Lemkin is a fascinating character, and one of the things that is underway in genocide studies right now is the so-called “return to Lemkin”. A lot of interesting psychological work has been done on the mental and emotional makeup of genocide rescuers.