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Concentration in Genocide and Human Rights

Why Study Genocide and Human Rights?

The causes and repercussions of mass murder

While the systematic murder of Jewish people during the Holocaust may be the best-known example of genocide, it was neither the first nor the last time that humans engaged in such behavior. What causes societies to disintegrate, step by step, such that they resort to mass violence as a way to address social problems? What drives ordinary people to participate in such atrocities? Can societies heal and move on to more peaceful forms of coexistence?

As a student in the genocide and human rights concentration, offered through Clark’s renowned Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, you’ll take courses with leading scholars in a variety of disciplines to gain a critical and sophisticated understanding of the various facets of genocide. You’ll learn about collusion and resistance; the hot violence of mass murder and the cold violence of the modern, bureaucratic machinery of death; as well as suffering and adaptation to suffering. To support your studies, the Center maintains a library dedicated to literature about the Holocaust and other genocides, as well as internet access to Holocaust testimonies in the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.

Genocide and human rights is one of seven undergraduate programs affiliated with Clark’s Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies, a community of faculty and students who are engaged in the study of diverse, disadvantaged, or marginalized societies and populations, with an emphasis on promoting social justice.

While you can combine this concentration with any major, it’s an especially good complement to majors in geography; history; international development and social change; political science; psychology; and sociology.

Minimum number of courses to complete this concentration: 6

Requirements and Faculty

Hands-On Learning

As a complement to this concentration, you can engage in a variety of related experiential learning opportunities, including internships, study abroad, and research.

The Strassler Center offers an internship program for undergraduates in conjunction with Holocaust and genocide museums and memorials across the country and around the globe. The purpose of this program is to provide students the opportunity to bring the knowledge they have gained in class to a public setting and, conversely, to learn how genocide museums and memorials educate a broad spectrum of visitors.

If you are interested in genocide and human rights-related internship opportunities, visit the Career Services Internship Listings.


A foundation in genocide and human rights is an asset to those seeking careers in such fields as law, government, public administration, social work, education, and public history.

For more information, please email Professor Ken MacLean.

Program Director

Professor Ken MacLean   Phone: 1-508-793-8817