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Timor mortis conturbat me : genocide pedagogy and vicarious trauma

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Genocide instructors in the social sciences speak little of how their pedagogy should address students' emotions, and even less of their own emotional states. I provide a personal narrative about my teaching experiences that illustrates the issues that instructors may face and the significance of addressing them. The narrative is analyzed using three concepts from social and clinical psychology--burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious traumatization--with which instructors should familiarize themselves. These concepts are also employed to identify characteristics of genocide studies that increase the burden on instructors, including the isolation in which many work, the historical persistence of genocide, and the discourse of obligation in genocide studies. I propose that, were genocide researchers to cast a much wider net as they select cases for comparison, some of the burdens of their fearful topic would be alleviated.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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