PSY-105 - The Psychology of Genocide

3 credits

The Psychology of Genocide will focus upon the influence of Systems, Situations, and Social Groups on transforming a person's belief's and actions. The Psychology of Genocide will explore the 8 stages of genocide and various examples of these stages in history. Moreover, students will compare the differences between personal emotional development and social identification. Students will consider the differences between perpetrators, bystanders and rescuers in numerous historical context. For example, the comparisons and parallels between Hitler's committed followers and the nuclear policy and system that transformed American thought during the Cold War. A particular emphasis will be placed upon the divergent views of Americans concerning dropping the atomic bomb, creating the hydrogen bomb and the psychology concerning Mutually Assured Destruction and the establishment of a Military-Industrial Complex. Students will be asked to consider what roles the bureaucracies played in both the Holocaust and Nuclearism. In addition, students will be asked to introspect on whether or not a potential genocide mentality exists in every person and only awaits the necessary situation for this mentality to be manifested. The works of Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo will be examined at length. Students will reflect upon the situational actions of William Calley at My Lai and Lynndie England at Abu Ghraib. Lastly, students will contemplate the role of social groups in the dehumanization and demonization of people outside their social groups.
Particular emphasis will be placed upon the psychological differences between personal identify growth and social group identification.

Mass Transfer Block: Credits earned in this course are counted towards the MassTransfer Block Behavioral and Social Sciences requirements.