The suite of international conventions and declarations about genocide, human rights, and refugees after the Second War is known as the “human rights revolution.” It is regarded widely as humanizing international affairs by implementing the lessons of the Holocaust. In this presentation, Dirk Moses questions this rosy picture by investigating how persecuted peoples have invoked the Holocaust and made analogies with Jews to gain recognition as genocide victims. Such attempts rarely succeed and have been roundly condemned as cheapening the Holocaust memory, but how and why does genocide recognition require groups to draw such comparisons? Does the human rights revolution and image of the Holocaust as the paradigmatic genocide humanize postwar international affairs as commonly supposed?
Dirk Moses is Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney. Between 2011 and 2016, he held the Chair of Global and Colonial History at the European University Institute, Florence. His prizewinning book, German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past (2007) examined how West German intellectuals related the national disastrous to the construction of republican democracy. Moses has also written extensively about genocide, memory, and global history. Recent anthologies include Colonial Counterinsurgency and Mass Violence: The Dutch Empire in Indonesia (2014), Postcolonial Conflict and the Question of Genocide: The Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967–1970 (2018), and The Holocaust in Greece (2018). He is senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research.
Sponsor: Holocaust Living History Workshop (UC San Diego Library and Jewish Studies)