February 10, 2000 Geneva, NY – Herbert Hirsch, noted author and political scientist, will discuss how genocide can be prevented by political means at a lecture titled “Genocide and the Failure of Politics” at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 21, in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus. The event is part of the “Genocide in the 20th Century” lecture series sponsored by the Colleges. It is free and the public is welcome.
Hirsch is a political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth University where he teaches courses on the politics of war, violence, and genocide. He is the author of several books including Genocide and the Politics of Memory: Studying Death to Preserve Life (1995), and Persistent Prejudice: Perspectives on Anti-Semitism (1988); and he has authored and presented numerous papers at several conferences including the Annual Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust, and the Australian Association of the Jewish Studies. His work provides an account of why genocide occurs and a vision of how it can be prevented — first by political means, and, in the longer term, by a transformed system of education.
Hirsch studies repetitions of large-scale human violence in order to ascertain why people in every historical epoch seem so willing to kill each other. He argues that leaders often invoke or create memories of real or fictitious past injustices to motivate their followers to kill for political gain or other reasons. In order to revise the politics of memory, Hirsch proposes essential reforms in both the modern political state and in systems of education.
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