Based at Northern Arizona University, the Genocide Resource Project comprises a number of different genocide related databases and a Geographic Information System (GIS) of genocide. This website is intended to provide scholars, researchers, and educators with genocide and Holocaust related data that can be used for analysis and teaching related purposes. Currently, the project is comprised of the following two major components: Der Stürmer Archives and Genocide GIS.
Genocide is perhaps the most destructive of all forms of collective violence. Simply put, genocide refers to the attempted destruction of a population group. That group may be targeted because of race, ethnicity, nationality, and/or religion. At its most basic, genocide is about trying to annihilate a group of people because of a status they share. Historically targeted groups have included Jews, Native Americans, Armenians, Rwandan Tutsi, Bosnian Muslims, and members of Fur, Zaghawa, and Massalit tribes in the Darfur region of the Sudan. Even though the twentieth century has often been perceived as being an age of total war, it should more accurately be referred to as an age of genocide since genocides killed more than four times as many people as all the wars, civil wars, and revolutions combined. From the Armenian genocide at the beginning of the century, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, the twentieth century was an age characterized by mass violence against civilians. Unfortunately, this new century has started out with more of the same. In 2003 a genocide began in the Darfur region of the Sudan and continues to the present day. In short, genocidal violence has been an extremely destructive part of recent world history, and appears that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
It’s important to point out that the effects of genocide are not simply limited to a particular country or region, since the international community often becomes involved in peacekeeping efforts in many conflict and post-conflict zones around the globe. Additionally, neighboring countries are sometimes destabilized because of refugees flooding over borders to escape the violence. In our globalized and interconnected world, these events are increasingly becoming part of the political, social, and economic landscape. This means that ordinary people are exposed to issues and concerns from around the world and often don’t have the knowledge or information necessary to make sense of these catastrophes. This increasing attention is made evident in a number of different ways.
First, we have seen a proliferation of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) dealing with these issues. Groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Save Darfur, and Prevent Genocide among many others work hard to raise popular attention, mobilize action, and lobby for political and policy changes.
Second, the U.S. government sometimes calls attention to this issue as happened most recently around the Darfur genocide. Even older examples of genocide are sometimes raised as an issue. In 2006, for example, the U.S. senate considered officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide even though that genocide had been perpetrated in the early years of the 20th century. Ultimately, the senate did not recognize the genocide because of pressure from the Turkish government, which denies the genocide and which threatened to cut off Turkish support for the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Third, genocide and human rights abuses are sometimes featured on news shows and in documentaries. Films such as Schindler’s List and Hotel Rwanda, for example, have had a powerful influence on raising popular awareness about genocide.
Fourth and last, we live in an age of climate change when nations around the world will be stressed and challenged by things such as sea level rise, drought, changes in rainfall, more frequent and more violent storms, and loss of habitat, potable water, and agriculture. These may serve to displace populations, increase competition for ever-scarcer resources, and increase the risk of conflicts, wars, and genocide.
Climate change is intimately connected with geography, and GRP will provide some of he tools necessary to understand the dynamics and impact on human communities. In short, as attention, awareness, interest, and concern continue to increase and will continue to increase, there is a growing need for accessible sources of information on the nature and dynamics of this form of collective violence.
All of these different examples illustrate the growing relevance of these issues for ordinary people who often don’t have the knowledge base necessary for informed decision-making and opinions. All too often, the resources that do exist are hard to find, are scattered in a variety of locations, and are not always very user friendly. In a nutshell, this perceived need is what the Genocide Research Project seeks to address.