While the macro-level mechanics and structures of genocide are most often our focus of study, at its heart, genocide happens because individual humans choose to kill other individual humans in large numbers and over an extended period of time. Who are the killers on the frontlines of genocide and how are do they come to do such extraordinary evil? Based on interviews with over 200 rank-and-file perpetrators, this presentation will focus on the ordinary origins of these killers and the processes by which they become capable of such atrocities. Understanding these processes can be vital to resolving current conflicts as well as preventing the future occurrence of genocide.
Dr. James Waller is Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, home to the nation’s only undergraduate major in Holocaust and genocide studies. He also serves as Director of Academic Programs for the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. His most recent books include Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (2007) andConfronting Evil: Engaging Our Responsibility to Prevent Genocide (2016), both published by Oxford University Press.