"Shocking the Conscience of Mankind”: The Language of Transgression Before and After the Holocaust

Lecture | April 18 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Dirk Moses, Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney

 Institute of European Studies, Center for German and European Studies

This lecture questions the comforting story of progress that dominates academic and public understandings of mass criminality and international order. Widely regarded as a breakthrough in international law and morality, the genocide concept, modeled on the Holocaust, has transformed the “language of transgression” by making massive hate crimes the ultimate violations: motivated by ideologically fanatical racisms rather than by the supposedly prosaic imperatives of state security. In view of the enormous violence in which millions have died since the 1940s, there are good reasons to ask whether the house of international criminal law was built on shaky conceptual foundations.

 heike.friedman@berkeley.edu, 510-4558