Mass Political Killing: Causes, Patterns and Moral Implications



Dan Chirot, University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

Date and Time

January 29, 2014 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM January 28.


Philippines Conference Room

Part II: Asia in the World Series

The causes and moral implications of genocidal mass killings have, in the past couple of decades, become a major area of scholarly as well as popular debate and political contention. But in the process questions of definition, guilt, compensation, and of reconciliation have become muddled and been subject to political and ideological bias. While many of these issues remain controversial and even unresolvable, a clearer exposition of causes, consequences, and debates about major examples can help us reach more objective judgments and improve our understanding of these terrible events. Many, though not all of the examples used to discuss this will come from an edited book due to appear in March 2014 entitled Confronting Memories of World War II.  This volume is a joint Stanford University Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and University of Washington Jackson School endeavor.  Discussing this topic with a broad set of historical examples is far from merely being an academic exercise as it directly touches important contemporary political controversies.

Dan Chirot has authored books about social change, ethnic and nationalist conflicts, Eastern Europe, and tyranny. He co-authored Why Not Kill Them All? (Princeton Univeristy Press), about political mass murder and most recently he wrote a completely new, very revised edition of his book How Societies Change (Sage Publications).  He has edited or co-edited books on Leninism’s decline, entrepreneurial ethnic minorities, ethnopolitical warfare, the economic history of Eastern Europe, and memories of World War II.  He founded the journal East European Politics and Societies and has received help from, among others, the John Simon Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Mellon Foundations and from the US State Department. He has consulted for the US Government, the Ford Foundation, CARE, and other NGOs. In 2004/05 he was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace working on African conflicts. He earned his BA from Harvard and his PhD from Columbia.