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Geographic aspects of genocide: a comparison of Bosnia and Rwanda

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The study of genocide requires a geographic approach that looks at how genocidal actions are purposefully planned to target specific groups and areas, methodically implemented through expulsions and murder, and politically intertwined with popular aspirations of territorial nationalism. A geographic focus is used here to discuss the concept of genocide, its recurrence in the twentieth century, its formulation under international law, and its eruption in Bosnia and Rwanda. In this comparative approach, geography-linked concepts such as Lebensraum, territorial nationalism, forced migration, and ethnic cleansing are used to explain the production of genocide and its consequences.

Keywords: Lebensraum; forced migration international relations; genocide territorial nationalism

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, US Department of State

Publication date: March 1, 2001


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