Chapter 1. The Dark Side of Modernity
Toward an Anthropology of Genocide
Alexander Laban Hinton
As we stand on the edge of the millennium, looking back at modernity's wake, genocide looms as the Janus face of Western metanarratives of "civilization" and "progress."1
With the rise of the nation-state and its imperialist and modernizing ambitions, tens of millions of "backward" or "savage" indigenous peoples perished from disease, starvation, slave labor, and outright murder. Sixty million others were also annihilated in the twentieth century, often after nation-states embarked upon lethal projects of social engineering intent upon eliminating certain undesirable and "contaminating" elements of the population. The list of victim groups during this "Century of Genocide"2
is long. Some are well known to the public—Jews, Cambodians, Bosnians, and Rwandan Tutsis. Others have been annihilated in greater obscurity—Hereros, Armenians, Ukrainian peasants, Gypsies, Bengalis, Burundi Hutus, the Aché of Paraguay, Guatemalan Indians, and the Ogoni of Nigeria.
Clearly, this devastation poses a critical challenge to scholars: Why does one group of human beings set out to eradicate another group from the face of earth? What are the origins and processes involved in such mass murder? How do we respond to the bodily, material, and psychological devastation it causes? How might we go about predicting or preventing it in the twenty-first century? Because of their experience-near understandings of the communities in which such violence takes place, anthropologists are uniquely positioned to address these questions. Unfortunately, with few exceptions anthropologists have remained remarkably silent on the topic of genocide, as illustrated by the fact that they have written so little on what is often considered the twentieth-century's paradigmatic genocide, the Holocaust.3
Although anthropologists have long been at the forefront of advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples and have conducted rich analyses of violence, conflict, and warfare in substate and prestate societies, they have only recently (since the 1980s) begun to focus their attention intensively on political violence in complex state societies.
Some of the factors fueling this shift in focus include the broadening and de-essentializing of the concept of culture; the growing awareness that anthropology must deal conceptually with globalization, history, and the nation-states; a theoretical and ethnographic move away from studying small, relatively stable communities toward looking at those under siege, in flux, and victimized by state violence or insurgency movements; and the dramatic rise in ethnonationalist conflict and state terror in the wake of colonialism and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In addition, anthropologists may have felt uncomfortable engaging with this topic insofar as anthropologists themselves and anthropological conceptions (such as race, ethnicity, and "culture") have contributed to the genocidal process (see Arnold, Bowen, Schafft, and Scheper-Hughes, this volume). Moreover, anthropologists who did engage in such large-scale sociopolitical analyses during World War II and the Vietnam War often found themselves mired in moral quandaries and controversies. Still other anthropologists may have felt their analytical frameworks and insights were somehow insufficient to deal with the horrors of genocide.4
Finally, cultural relativism has likely played a key role in inhibiting anthropologists from studying genocide. As introductory textbooks in anthropology highlight, one of the fundamental features of anthropology is the view that cultural values are historical products and, therefore, that one should not ethnocentrically assume that the values of one's own society are more legitimate, superior, or universal than those of other peoples. This perspective informed the American Anthropological Association's official response to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the organization critiqued for being a "statement of rights conceived only in terms of the values prevalent in the countries of Western Europe and America" (1947:539). Although legitimately fighting against cultural imperialism, this type of relativistic perspective has great difficulty responding to, let alone condemning, the atrocities committed during genocides and other forms of political violence. For, if one assumes that the values of other societies are as legitimate as one's own, how can one condemn horrendous acts that are perpetrated in terms of those alternative sets of morals, since the judgment that something is "horrendous" may be ethnocentric and culturally relative? (Not surprisingly, many ruthless governments have invoked cultural relativism to defend atrocities committed under their rule.) I suspect that the difficulty of dealing with such questions has contributed greatly to the anthropological reticence on genocide (see also Scheper-Hughes, this volume).5
This book represents an attempt to focus anthropological attention directly on the issue of genocide and to envision what an "anthropology of genocide" might look like. To broaden the scope of the volume, the essays examine a variety of cases (ranging from indigenous peoples to the Holocaust) and have been written from a variety of subdisciplinary backgrounds (ranging from archaeology to law). Moreover, the final chapters reflect on the book as a whole and suggest ways in which anthropologists might make a greater contribution to the study of genocide. In the introductory discussion that follows, I frame the essays along two axes. On the one hand, I suggest that genocide is intimately linked to modernity, a concept I define in more detail below. On the other hand, genocide is always a local process and therefore may be analyzed and understood in important ways through the ethnohistorical lens of anthropology. The introduction concludes by suggesting some key issues with which an anthropology of genocide might be concerned. Genocide: What Is It?
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
—Article II, 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention
Prior to the twentieth century, the concept of genocide did not exist. The term was coined by the Polish jurist Raphäel Lemkin, who combined the Greek word genos
(race, tribe) with the Latin root cide
Lemkin lobbied incessantly to get genocide recognized as a crime, attending numerous meetings and writing hundreds of letters in a variety of languages. His efforts ultimately helped lead the United Nations to pass a preliminary resolution (96-I) in 1946, stating that genocide occurs "when racial, religious, political and other groups have been destroyed, entirely or in part." It is crucial to note that this preliminary resolution included the destruction of "political and other groups" in its definition. Much of the subsequent U.N. debate over the legislation on genocide revolved around the question of whether political and social groups should be covered by the convention (Kuper 1981).7
A number of countries—particularly the Soviet Union, which, because of the atrocities it perpetrated against the kulaks and other "enemies of the people," feared accusations of genocide—argued that political groups should be excluded from the convention since they did not fit the etymology of genocide, were mutable categories, and lacked the distinguishing characteristics necessary for definition. In the end, the clause on "political and other groups" was dropped from the final version of the 1948 Genocide Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, which dealt only with "national, ethnical, racial or religious groups."8
This omission has generated a great deal of debate. As currently defined, the U.N. convention definition has difficulty accounting for such events as the Soviet liquidation of its "enemies" or the Nazi annihilation of tens of thousands of "lives not worth living" (that is, mentally challenged or mentally ill individuals), homosexuals, social "deviants," and communists. Regardless, some genocide scholars prefer to adhere to the strict, legal definition of the Genocide Convention while attempting to account for violence against political and social groups under such alternative rubrics as "related atrocities" (Kuper 1981) or "politicides" (Harff and Gurr 1988). Many other scholars have proposed more moderate definitions of genocide that cover political and social groups but exclude most deaths resulting from military warfare (e.g., Chalk and Jonassohn 1990; Fein 1990). Thus Helen Fein states: "Genocide is sustained purposeful action by a perpetrator to physically destroy a collectivity directly or indirectly, through interdiction of the biological and social reproduction of group members, sustained regardless of the surrender or lack of threat offered by the victim" (Fein 1990:24). Finally, a few scholars use a very broad definition of genocide that covers more types of military warfare (e.g., Charny 1994; Kuper 1994).
From an anthropological perspective, the U.N. definition is problematic in several respects. In particular, it gives primacy to an overly restricted set of social categories. While the marking of difference occurs in every society, the social groupings that are constructed vary dramatically. Race, ethnicity, nation, and religion are favored categories in modern discourse. However, as anthropologists and other scholars have demonstrated, many other social classifications exist, including totemistic groups, clans, phratries, lineages, castes, classes, tribes, and categories based on sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, urban or rural origin, and, of course, economic and political groups. Surely, if a government launched a campaign to obliterate the "Untouchables," everyone would characterize its actions as genocide. Likewise, there is no a priori reason why the intentional destruction of a political group or the handicapped should not be characterized as genocidal. The criterion that distinguishes genocide as a conceptual category is the intentional
attempt to annihilate a social group that has been marked as different.
Some scholars might challenge this assertion by arguing that many of the social categories I have mentioned are too malleable. Such an argument could be refuted in its own terms—it is often extremely difficult to stop being an Untouchable or to stop having a disability. One may much more easily convert to a different religion. Accordingly, I believe it is crucial to note that even categories such as race, ethnicity, and nationality, which are frequently given a primordial tinge, are historically constructed groupings that have shifting edges and fuzzy boundaries.
This point is illustrated in Paul Magnarella's essay "Recent Developments in the International Law of Genocide: An Anthropological Perspective on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda." Magnarella provides a detailed overview of the original provisions of the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention and recent steps toward implementation. Since its inception, the convention has been plagued by the problem of enforcement. Although the convention provides for recourse on the state and international level, crimes of genocide have occurred without intervention or prosecution, since the state itself is usually the perpetrator and will not acknowledge the atrocities taking place within its borders. During the 1990s, the U.N. Security Council used its authority to establish tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. (An anthropologist and a lawyer, Magnarella served as a consultant and researcher for these tribunals.) Moreover, in July 1998, delegates at a U.N. conference in Rome approved a statute calling for the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court, despite the protests of the United States and a handful of other countries, including Iran, Iraq, China, Lybia, Algeria, and Sudan. President Clinton finally signed the treaty in January 2001, days before leaving office. Senate confirmation remains in doubt.
After tracing these developments, Magnarella describes the process by which the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) conducted the first trial for the crime of genocide ever held before an international court. In September 1998, fifty years after the adoption of the U.N. convention, former Rwandan mayor and educator Jean—Paul Akayesu was convicted of various acts of genocide, as well as crimes against humanity. Magnarella recounts the testimony of one woman who, despite seeking Akayesu's protection, was repeatedly raped in public; Akayesu reportedly encouraged one of the rapists, saying: "Don't tell me that you won't have tasted a Tutsi woman. Take advantage of it, because they'll be killed tomorrow." Akayesu, in turn, claimed that he was a minor official who was unable to control the atrocities that took place in his municipality.
Because of its unprecedented work, the ICTR faced many difficulties in achieving the conviction of Akayesu. One of the foremost problems was the U.N. convention's lack of a definition of a "national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Background research revealed that the drafters of the convention restricted the definition of the term genocide
to "stable, permanent groups, whose membership is determined by birth." Based on that conceptual distinction, the ICTR came up with provisional definitions of the aforementioned groups. However, the more fluid Hutu/Tutsi/Twa distinction did not clearly fit any of the proposed definitions. Noting that Rwandans readily identified themselves in these terms and that the labels were used in official Rwandan documents, the ICTR nevertheless concluded that such emic distinctions could serve as a basis for prosecution.
Magnarella points out that the ICTR effectively expanded the coverage of the convention by adding any "stable and permanent group, whose membership is largely determined by birth" to the pre-existing national, ethnic, racial, and religious categories. Thus, atrocities committed against those of different castes, sexual orientations, or disabilities might qualify as genocidal. In addition, the ICTR set a precedent for examining local understandings of social difference, since etic ones are too often indeterminate and vague. In fact, as I will later point out, this very uncertainty about identity often leads perpetrators to inscribe difference upon the bodies of their victims (Appadurai 1998; Feldman 1991; Taylor 1999). Although the ICTR ultimately maintained a criterion of enduring difference, its difficulty in using "national, ethnical, racial or religious" designations illustrates that even these seemingly stable categories refer to sets of social relations that have fuzzy boundaries and vary across time and place (see also Bowen, this volume).
Accordingly, I would advocate the use of a more moderate definition of genocide
, such as the one Fein proposes, because it can, without losing analytic specificity, more easily account for the fact that group boundaries are socially constructed across contexts and through time. From an anthropological perspective, the reification of concepts such as race and ethnicity (while not surprising, given the historical privileging of perceived biological difference in much Western discourse) is problematic because—like class, caste, political or sexual orientation, and physical and mental disability—the terms reference "imagined communities," to borrow Benedict Anderson's (1991) term. Genocides are distinguished by a process of "othering" in which the boundaries of an imagined community are reshaped in such a manner that a previously "included" group (albeit often included only tangentially) is ideologically recast (almost always in dehumanizing rhetoric) as being outside the community, as a threatening and dangerous "other"—whether racial, political, ethnic, religious, economic, and so on—that must be annihilated.
Before turning to describe some of the other themes and essays in this volume, I would like to briefly discuss how genocide might be distinguished from other forms of violence. The English word violence
is derived from the Latin violentia,
which refers to "vehemence, impetuosity, ferocity" and is associated with "force."9
In its current usage, violence
may refer specifically to the "exercise of physical force so as to inflict injury on, or cause damage to, persons or property" (Oxford English Dictionary
1989:654), or quite generally to any type of physical, symbolic, psychological, or structural force exerted against someone, some group, or some thing.10
Political violence is a subset of violence broadly encompassing forms of covert or, as Carole Nagengast has stated, "overt state-sponsored or tolerated violence" that may include "actions taken or not taken by the state or its agents with the express intent of realizing certain social, ethnic, economic, and political goals in the realm of public affairs, especially affairs of the state or even of social life in general" (1994:114).
Political violence, in turn, subsumes a number of potentially overlapping phenomena including terrorism, ethnic conflict, torture, oppression, war, and genocide. What distinguishes genocide from these other forms of political violence is the perpetrators' sustained and purposeful attempt to destroy a collectivity (Fein 1990:24). Thus, while genocide may
involve terrorism (or acts intended to intimidate or subjugate others by the fear they inspire), ethnic conflict (or violence perpetrated against another ethnic group), torture (or the infliction of severe physical pain and psychological anguish to punish or coerce others), oppression (or the use of authority to forcibly subjugate others), and war (or a state of armed conflict between two or more nations, states, or factions), it differs from them conceptually insofar as genocide is characterized by the intention to annihilate "the other."11
Clearly, the boundaries between these different forms of political violence blend into one another. Moreover, as with all conceptual categories, genocide is based on certain presuppositions that are subject to debate and challenge. Nevertheless, I believe that we may legitimately delineate the domain of "an anthropology of genocide" as encompassing those cases in which a perpetrator group attempts, intentionally and over a sustained period of time, to annihilate another social or political community from the face of the earth. Modernity's Edges: Genocide and Indigenous Peoples
[As] you are aware, in undertakings like ours the capital is applied to and spent in conquering or more properly attracting to work and civilization the savage tribes, which, once this is attained . . . brings to us the property of the very soil they dominated, paying afterwards with the produce they supply, the value of any such advance. In undertakings like ours any amounts so applied are considered capital.
—Report and Special Report from the Select Committee on Putumayo12
But humbled be, and thou shalt see these Indians soon will dy.
A Swarm of Flies, they may arise, a Nation to Annoy,
Yea Rats and Mice, or Swarms of Lice a Nation may destroy.
—Captain Wait Winthrop, 1675, Some Meditations13
If the concept of genocide is a twentieth-century invention, the types of destructive behaviors it references go far back in history. Many of the earliest recorded episodes were linked to warfare and the desire of the perpetrators to either eliminate an enemy or terrify potential foes into submission, what Helen Fein (1984) has called "despotic genocides."14
The ancient Assyrians, for example, attempted to rule by fear, repeatedly massacring or enslaving those peoples who failed to submit to their authority. Seenacherib's destruction of Babylon in 689 b.c. provides one illustration: "[He] made up his mind to erase rebellious Babylon from the face of the earth. Having forced his way into the city, he slaughtered the inhabitants one by one, until the dead clogged the streets. . . . He would have the city vanish . . . from the very sight of mankind" (Ceram 1951:269). Ironically, the Assyrians themselves were later annihilated at the end of a war. Similarly, the Athenian empire made a terrifying example of upstart Melos by killing all Melinian men of military age and selling their women and children into slavery. The Mongols of Genghis Khan, in turn, developed a ferocious reputation for the massacres they carried out. Mongol soldiers were sometimes ordered to prove they had killed a requisite number of people by cutting off their victims' ears, which were later counted.
With the advent of modernity, however, genocidal violence began to be motivated by a new constellation of factors. The term modernity
is notoriously difficult to define and can perhaps best be described as a set of interrelated processes, some of which began to develop as early as the fifteenth century, characterizing the emergence of "modern society."15
Politically, modernity involves the rise of secular forms of government, symbolized by the French Revolution and culminating in the modern nation-states. Economically, modernity refers to capitalist expansion and its derivatives—monetarized exchange, the accumulation of capital, extensive private property, the search for new markets, commodification, and industrialization. Socially, modernity entails the replacement of "traditional" loyalties (to lord, master, priest, king, patriarch, kin, and local community) with "modern" ones (to secular authority, leader, "humanity," class, gender, race, and ethnicity). Culturally, modernity encompasses the movement from a predominantly religious to an emphatically secular and materialist worldview characterized by new ways of thinking about and understanding human behavior.
In many ways, this modern worldview was epitomized by Enlightenment thought, with its emphasis on the individual, empiricism, secularism, rationality, progress, and the enormous potential of science. For Enlightenment thinkers and their heirs, the social world, like nature, was something to be analyzed and explained in a rational, scientific manner. Ultimately, such empirical research would yield universal laws of human behavior and provide knowledge that could be used to advance the human condition. This optimistic bundle of ideas contributed greatly to the emergence of a key metanarrative of modernity—the teleological myth of "progress" and "civilization."16
On the one hand, the human condition was portrayed as involving the inexorable march of progress from a state of savagery to one of civilization. On the other hand, reason and science provided the means to facilitate this march through social engineering; human societies, like nature, could be mastered, reconstructed, and improved.
Despite the optimistic promises of this metanarrative, modernity quickly demonstrated that it has a dark side—mass destruction, extreme cruelty, and genocide. Indigenous peoples, who lived on the edges of modernity, were often devastated by its advance (Bodley 1999; Maybury-Lewis 1997). Beginning with the fifteenth-century explorations of the Portuguese and Spanish, European imperialists began a process whereby newly "discovered" lands were conquered and colonized and the indigenous people living within them enslaved, exploited, and murdered. Tens of millions of indigenous peoples perished in the years that followed. Because the European expansion was largely driven by a desire for new lands, converts, wealth, slaves, and markets, some scholars refer to the resulting annihilation of indigenous peoples as "development" or "utilitarian" genocides (Fein 1984; Smith 1987). This devastation was legitimated by contradictory discourses that simultaneously asserted that the colonizers had the "burden" of "civilizing" the "savages" living on their newly conquered territories and that their deaths mattered little since they were not fully human. Metanarratives of modernity supplied the terms by which indigenous peoples were constructed as the inverted image of "civilized" peoples. Discourse about these "others" was frequently structured by a series of value-laden binary oppositions (see also Bauman 1991; Taussig 1987):
In this volume, the chapters by David Maybury-Lewis and Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock (see also Arnold, this volume) illustrate how such binary oppositions of modernity have been and continue to be invoked to legitimate abuses perpetrated against indigenous peoples.17
David Maybury-Lewis's essay, "Genocide against Indigenous Peoples," notes that, while we will never know the exact numbers, somewhere between thirty and fifty million (or more) indigenous people—roughly 80 percent—perished from the time of first contact to their population low points in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (see also Bodley 1999). Because of the technological and military superiority of European imperialists, various indigenous peoples stood little chance of resisting their advance and exploitative policies, particularly when coupled with the devastating effects of disease. As Maybury-Lewis points out, not all of the devastation was caused by genocide. Indigenous peoples perished from European diseases to which they had no resistance, from forced labor, from starvation caused by their loss of land and the disruption of their traditional ways of life, and from outright murder. Some of the deaths were intentionally perpetrated; others were caused indirectly.
Maybury-Lewis describes how the inhumane and genocidal treatment of indigenous peoples was often framed in metanarratives of modernity, particularly the notion of "progress." Thus, the annihilation of Tasmanians was legitimated as an attempt to "bring them to civilization," and Theodore Roosevelt justified the westward expansion of the United States by arguing that the land should not remain "a game preserve for squalid savages." Likewise, General Roca, who led the infamous "Conquest of the Desert" against indigenous Indians, told his fellow Argentineans that "our self—respect as a virile people obliges us to put down as soon as possible, by reason or by force, this handful of savages who destroy our wealth and prevent us from definitively occupying, in the name of law, progress and our own security, the richest and most fertile lands of the Republic" (Maybury-Lewis, this volume). Similar arguments were made to legitimate the massacre of thousands of Herero.
As Maybury-Lewis highlights, the perpetrator's greed and cruelty is astounding and, often, sickening. In the above examples, indigenous peoples were displaced and killed for their land. In other instances, they were terrorized into performing slave labor. Rubber—plantation owners in South America and the Congo were particularly brutal; they held relatives of the workers as hostages, raped women, tortured and maimed the recalcitrant, and sometimes abused and killed simply for amusement (see also Taussig 1987). In more recent times, indigenous peoples have been devastated by another metanarrative of modernity—discourses asserting the need for "development." The "development" of Nigeria's oil resources (through the collaboration of the government and multinational companies such as Shell), for example, has led to massive environmental damage and the enormous suffering of the Ogoni who reside in oil-rich areas (see also Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock, this volume). In his own work at Cultural Survival,
Maybury-Lewis continues to inform the public about the suffering of indigenous peoples around the globe, including contemporary cases in which states have waged war against indigenous peoples within their borders who have resisted—or been perceived as resisting—the state's authority (for example, the Naga of India, various non-Burmese peoples, Guatemalan Indians, and Sudanese Christians). Maybury-Lewis's chapter concludes by summarizing some of the factors that have contributed to the genocide of indigenous peoples—the resources of the land upon which they live, extreme dehumanization, marginality and political weakness, and metanarratives of modernity. Perhaps, he suggests, the plight of indigenous peoples will improve in an era of globalization as nation-states are increasingly reorganized along more pluralist lines.
If Maybury Lewis's essay outlines the long history of genocidal atrocities committed against indigenous peoples throughout the world, Samuel Totten, William Parsons, and Robert Hitchcock's chapter, "Confronting Genocide and Ethnocide of Indigenous Peoples: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Definition, Intervention, Prevention, and Advocacy," constitutes an interdisciplinary effort to clarify key issues related to the prevention of such atrocities. As cultural, applied, forensic, and other anthropologists have taken an increasingly proactive role in defending indigenous peoples, they have found themselves working with scholars from other fields, policy-makers, and indigenous peoples themselves. Unfortunately, the participants in such collaborative efforts often use terms like genocide
in very different ways. Prevention, intervention, and advocacy, the authors argue, require precise conceptual distinctions that may lead to disparate preventative strategies.
The very definition of the term indigenous people
is problematic, since in many places groups may migrate and identify themselves in different ways. Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock note that the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues identifies four key characteristics of indigenous peoples—pre-existence, nondominance, cultural difference, and self-identification as indigenous—which parallel Maybury-Lewis's definition of indigenous peoples as those who "have been conquered by invaders who are racially, ethnically, or culturally different from themselves." Crucial issues revolve around the question of how one defines indigenous peoples. Several African and Asian governments, for example, have tried to deny that indigenous peoples live within their borders or argue that all the groups in the country are indigenous. By doing so, they attempt to avoid international inquiries on the behalf of indigenous peoples and undercut their claims for compensation or lands rights.
Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock also make useful distinctions between physical genocide (that is, the intentional killing of the members of a group), cultural genocide or "ethnocide" (the deliberate destruction of a group's way of life), "ecocide" (the destruction of a group's ecosystem by state or corporate entities), and various typologies of genocide (such as retributive, despotic, developmental, and ideological).18
With such conceptual distinctions in mind, anthropologists and other advocates may more effectively promote the rights of indigenous peoples by developing explicit standards to monitor and defend groups at risk. In addition, scholars and policy-makers may work to develop early-warning systems that trigger an alarm when the possibility of genocide is high in a locale. By using their "on the ground experience" to help warn about impending genocides and by helping to develop educational initiatives, anthropologists may play a crucial role in such efforts at prevention, intervention, and advocacy.
Such efforts, Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock argue, are of crucial importance since indigenous peoples continue to endure a wide range of abuses, ranging from involuntary relocation and the forcible removal of children to arbitrary executions and genocide. Like Maybury-Lewis's essay, their chapter illustrates how such devastation is often implicitly or explicitly legitimated by metanarratives of modernity. Governments, agencies, companies, and multinational corporations frequently portray the suffering and death of indigenous peoples as a "necessary by-product" of "development" and "progress," which come in the form of logging, mineral extraction, hydroelectric projects, oil fields, and land grabs in resource-rich areas. Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock carefully document how such projects result in enormous environmental damage, displacement, and, all too often, the deaths of indigenous peoples such as the Ogoni.
Ultimately, the very need for such harmful "development" projects is linked to other dimensions of modernity, the colonial endeavor and the creation of nation-states. As European imperialists set out to conquer new territories, they laid claim to large swaths of land throughout the world. Colonial boundaries were "rationally" demarcated in terms of major landmarks and the claims of competing powers. This pattern of "rational planning," establishing territorial borders, and ordering from above is one of the hallmarks of modernity. In order to create a map or grid that can be centrally controlled and manipulated, the modern state reduces and simplifies complex phenomena into a more manageable, schematized form; unfortunately, the results are often disastrous, particularly when local knowledge is ignored (Scott 1998). Colonial powers usually paid little attention to local understandings of sociopolitical difference when mapping out new political boundaries. After the colonial powers withdrew, newly independent nations found themselves in control of minority (and sometimes even majority) populations—including indigenous peoples—that wanted greater autonomy, more power, or the right to secede outright. Moreover, because of the exploitative economic practices of the colonial powers, many nations lacked basic infrastructure and trained personnel and were plagued by poverty and high rates of population growth. Colonialism therefore laid the foundation for much of the violent conflict and suffering that has plagued the twentieth-century world, as recently exemplified by the genocidal events in Rwanda. Essentializing Difference: Anthropologists in the Holocaust
Modern genocide is genocide with a purpose. . . . It is a means to an end. . . . The end itself is a grand vision of a better, and radically different, society. . . . This is the gardener's vision, projected upon a world-size screen. . . . Some gardeners hate the weeds that spoil their design—that ugliness in the midst of beauty, litter in the midst of serene order. Some others are quite unemotional about them: just a problem to be solved, an extra job to be done. Not that it makes a difference to the weeds; both gardeners exterminate them.
—Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust19
If all human beings are born with a propensity to distinguish difference, modern societies are distinguished by the degree to which such differences are reified. In other words, modernity thrives on the essentialization of difference. Several factors have contributed to this tendency. First, during the Age of Expansion, European explorers found themselves confronted with groups of people whose appearance and ways of life differed dramatically from their own. To comprehend such difference and to justify their imperialist, exploitative enterprises, Europeans frequently constructed the wide array of peoples they encountered in a similar fashion—as "primitive" others who lived in a degenerate and lawless state. As noted in the last section, these "others" served as an inverted mirror of modernity, giving rise to the type of "Orientalist" constructions that Edward Said (1985) has so vividly described. The west (us) was frequently opposed to "the rest" (them) in a unidimensional, stereotypic, and essentialized manner.
Second, the modern nation-states covets homogeneity. In contrast to earlier state formations, the nation-states is characterized by fixed territorial borders, centralized control of power, impersonal forms of governance, and a representational claim to legitimacy (see Held 1995). The very existence of the nation-states is predicated upon the assumption that there is a political "imagined community" of theoretically uniform "citizens" who, despite living in distant locales and disparate social positions, read the same newspapers and share a similar set of interests, legal rights, and obligations (Anderson 1991). It is in the nation-states's interest to use whatever means are at its disposal—national holidays, the media, institutional policy, flags, and anthems—to promote this vision of homogeneity. This tendency frequently culminates in a naturalized identification between person and place, often expressed in origin myths and arborescent metaphors that physically "root" nationals to their homeland and assert the identification of blood, soil, and nation (see Malkki 1997; Linke, this volume).
Third, science searches for regularity. This quest is exemplified by its theoretical laws, quantitative measures, methodologies, empiricism, and classificatory systems. Enlightenment thinkers extended the emerging scientific mentality to human beings, who, the colonial encounter revealed, seemed to come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. People, like other species and the physical world itself, had a "nature" that could be apprehended, classified, and theorized. Ultimately, this analogy had a lethal potentiality, which was actualized when hierarchical typologies of human difference were reified in terms of biological origins. "Otherness" became an immutable fact. Science thereby provided a legitimizing rationale for slavery, exploitation, and, ultimately, genocide in the modern era.
And, finally, to have "progress," one must have places and peoples to which it may be brought (savage "others" living in a "backward" state) and a standard (the end-point or goal) against which it may be judged (the "advanced" state of "civilization"). The means of "progress" is exemplified by modernity's projects of social engineering (Bauman 1991; Scott 1998). "Development" requires rational design (and, of course, the centralized control of the modern nation-states); rational design, in turn, requires legible, precise units that can be manipulated from above. From the perspective of the social engineer, groups of people are conceptualized as homogenous units having specifiable characteristics, which, like scientific variables, can be manipulated to achieve the desired end.
As Zygmunt Bauman (1991) has so effectively demonstrated, these essentializing impulses of modernity contributed to the paradigmatic genocide of the twentieth century, the Holocaust. In their attempt to create a homogenous German "folk community," the Nazis embarked on a lethal project of social engineering that was to eliminate "impure" groups that threatened the Aryan race. Difference was biologized into an immutable physiological essence that could not be changed. More than 200,000 severely disabled or mentally ill people, classified by German physicians as "lives not worth living," were murdered in the name of eugenics and euthanasia. Similarly, the Nazis executed up to six million Jews who were ideologically portrayed as a "disease," as "bacilli," and as "parasites" that threatened to poison the German national body and contaminate the purity of German blood (Koenigsberg 1975; Linke 1999). Gypsies and other undesirable groups were also targeted for elimination.
Once difference was essentialized and sorted into categories, the Nazis employed modern instruments to carry out their genocidal acts—state authority (the Nazi's centralized powers and control over the means of force), bureaucratic efficiency (managerial expertise regulating the flow of victims and the means of their annihilation), a technology of death (concentration camps, cyanide, railroad transport, crematoriums, brutal scientific experiments), and, of course, rational design (the Nazi's abstract plan for a "better" world). The Nazi genocide represented the culmination of modernity's lethal potentiality, as the German state, like Bauman's gardener, set out to reshape the social landscape by systematically and efficiently destroying the human weeds (Jews, Gypsies, "lives not worth living") that threatened to ruin this rational garden of Aryan purity.
As Bettina Arnold's and Gretchen Schafft's chapters suggest, anthropology, like other academic disciplines, was deeply implicated in this genocidal project of modernity and its essentializing tendencies. In fact, the rise of anthropology as a discipline was linked to the colonial encounter as Euroamerican missionaries, officials, travelers, and scholars attempted to comprehend the strange "others" they encountered. In other words, anthropology arose as one of modernity's disciplines of difference. Working from the Enlightenment belief in "progress" and the possibility of discovering scientific laws about human societies, anthropology's early progenitors, such as Spencer and Morgan, proposed that human societies advance through increasingly complex stages of development—from "savagery" to "barbarism" to modernity's apex of human existence, "civilization." Diverse ways of life were compressed into relatively stable categories, a homogenizing tendency that was paralleled by the anthropological typologies of race. If later anthropologists moved toward a more pluralistic conception of cultural diversity (via Herder and Boas), the discipline nevertheless continued to employ a concept of culture that was frequently reified and linked to the fixed territorial boundaries upon which the modern nation-states was predicated. In Germany, all of these essentializing tendencies coalesced under the Nazis, who asserted an equation between German blood and soil and the superiority of the German folk community. As experts on human diversity, German anthropologists were quickly enlisted to help construct this genocidal ideology of historical and physical difference, a process I have elsewhere called "manufacturing difference" (Hinton 1998, 2000).
Bettina Arnold's essay, "Justifying Genocide: Archaeology and the Construction of Difference," illustrates how historical difference is manufactured with archaeological "evidence" that provides an imagined identification between people and place. Such national identifications are notoriously susceptible to ideological manipulation because the categories upon which they are predicated—race, nation, ethnicity, religion, language, culture—are fuzzy and may shift across time, place, and person. Almost anyone can find an imagined origin for "their" group if they look hard enough, as recently illustrated by the violent conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
German National Socialism proved adept at such historical imaginings, which attempted to construct a mythic linkage between the Germanic people and their homeland. Arnold illustrates how German archaeologists, such as Gustaf Kossinna, reconstructed the past to provide a "pure," continuous line of Germanic cultural development from their ethnoparthenogenetic origin in the Paleolithic period up to the "post-Germanic" phase. Since the German people were supposed to be the most advanced race ever to have inhabited the earth, the Nazis sought to construct an archaeological record that demonstrated that the major advances in European history were of Nordic origin and denied that the Germanic people had been influenced by those of a "lesser" racial stock. Thus, through the creation of a mythic north-south migration route, the great achievements of ancient Greece and Rome were given a Germanic origin. Migration theory could also provide a basis for Nazi expansionist claims that the regime was merely retaking lands that had historically been Germanic territories. Ultimately, by constructing origin myths for the German nation-states and the superiority of the Aryan race, German archaeologists helped create essentialized categories of difference that served as an underpinning and justification for genocide.
Arnold notes that archaeology has also been used to legitimate genocide in other contexts. In the United States, for example, European settlers were sometimes dramatically confronted with the complex cultural achievements of Native Americans, such as the earthen mounds discovered in Ohio and the Mississippi River Valley. According to models of evolutionary progress, the "savage" natives could not possibly have built such sophisticated structures. To deal with this paradox, nineteenth-century archaeologists proposed the "Moundbuilder Myth," which held that the mounds had been built by a vanished race. By reconstructing the past to agree with their metanarratives of modernity, the European colonizers were able to legitimate their continued destruction of Native American societies, whose very "savagery" was confirmed by their suspected annihilation of the "civilized" Moundbuilders. The archaeological record was used in similar ways in Africa and other colonial territories. Arnold concludes by pointing out that archaeological evidence continues to be manipulated by various peoples around the globe—Chinese, Japanese, Celts, Estonians, Russians, Israelis—to legitimate their nationalist claims. By carefully examining and monitoring the ways in which archaeology continues to be used to manufacture difference, she suggests, anthropologists stand to make an important contribution to the prevention of genocide.
Although Arnold does not discuss Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, her arguments about the lethal potentialities implicit in the association between people and place could certainly be applied to these genocides. In both cases, origin myths served as a basis for essentializing difference and legitimating the annihilation of victims. In colonial Rwanda, German and later Belgian officials reimagined social differences in terms of the "Hamitic Hypothesis," which held that Tutsis were more "civilized" Hamites who had migrated south from Egypt and the Nile Valley and introduced more "advanced" forms of "development" into the region (see Taylor 1999, and this volume; see also Malkki 1995). Tutsis therefore shared racial characteristics that enabled them to be more effective leaders than the allegedly racially inferior Hutus, who were supposedly of Bantu stock. In the postcolonial period, this origin myth was reinvented by Hutus to argue that the Tutsis were "tricky," impure foreign invaders who had to be expunged from what was Hutu soil—an image reminiscent of Nazi discourse about Jews.
Similarly, in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s, Serb and Croat historiographers vied to construct historical linkages connecting themselves to Muslims ("converts" and "heretics") and the territories in which they lived; Muslim scholars, in turn, argued that they were a national group (narod
) that shared a way of life, religious beliefs, and legacy of residence on their lands (Bringa 1995, and this volume). Political ideologues played upon these different vantage points, arguing that their group had the right to lands that "others" now occupied. Genocide and ethnic cleansing were used to reconstruct an equivalence between national group and soil. As in Nazi Germany, in Rwanda and Bosnia an origin myth was ideologically deployed to essentialize identity, creating an "us" that belonged and a "them" that needed to be expunged—by forced removal or by death.
Gretchen Schafft's essay, "Scientific Racism in Service of the Reich: German Anthropologists in the Nazi Era," illustrates how Nazi anthropologists were deeply implicated in another form of manufacturing difference—constructing the alleged "characteristics" of various social groups. Many of these anthropologists worked in the anthropology division of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (KWI), which received large grants from the Rockefeller Foundation to conduct its studies on race and genetics. (This funding continued long after Hitler had begun to impose his anti-Semitic policies.) Schafft notes that, during the course of the 1930s, the anthropologists at the KWI's Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Genetics became increasingly involved in the racial politics of the Third Reich. On a practical level, these anthropologists acted as judges of identity and, therefore, had a considerable impact on an individual's chances for survival in Nazi Germany. Some certified racial backgrounds by examining an individual's blood type and physical features; others served as members of Nazi Racial Courts that enforced racial policy and heard appeals, though these were rarely granted. On a theoretical level, German and Austrian anthropologists helped buttress Nazi ideology by publishing articles on race and by training hundreds of SS doctors in the theory and practice of racial hygiene. In fact, one anthropologist, Otmar von Verscheur, founded Der Erbartz,
a leading medical journal that frequently published articles supporting Nazi policy on eugenics and race.
Schafft illustrates how, after World War II broke out, many Nazi anthropologists became even more intimately involved in the atrocities perpetrated during the Holocaust. Verschuer, who replaced the retiring Eugon Fischer as head of the KWI's Anthropology Institute in 1942, acted as a mentor to Josef Mengele, who himself had degrees in anthropology and medicine. Their collaboration continued while Mengele performed his notorious experiments at Auschwitz; in fact, Mengele sent blood samples and body parts to the Anthropology Institute for further analysis. After Germany invaded Poland, a number of anthropologists began working at the Institute für Deutsche Ostarbeit (Institute for Work in the East, or IDO) in the Race and Ethnic Research section. Some of these Nazi anthropologists were given responsibility for examining ethnic and racial differences in the newly conquered Eastern European territories. They conducted ethnographic research in a variety of locales, ranging from Polish villages to delousing centers and concentration camps. In many situations, SS guards provided these anthropologists with protection and forced their subjects, sometimes at gunpoint, to be examined, measured, and interviewed. Other anthropologists at the IDO examined the effects of "racial mixing" and identified various "racial strains." Like their colleagues at the KWI, Nazi anthropologists at the IDO were ultimately in the business of manufacturing difference—sorting diverse peoples into a fabricated hierarchy of essentialized biosocial types. The work of all of these Nazi anthropologists contributed directly to genocide, since they identified and judged the racial background of various individuals, forcibly used helpless victims (or their body parts) in their research projects, and, ultimately, provided a theoretical foundation for euthanasia, "racial hygiene," and the annihilation of Jews and other "impure" racial groups.
Schafft further considers why Nazi anthropologists participated in genocide. She suggests that anthropologists like Eugon Fischer, who altered his views about the benefits of "racial mixing" after Hitler took power, were driven, in part, by the desire for advancement and to continue conducting scientific research. (Those who protested in the Third Reich quickly lost their positions or were arrested.) Other Nazi anthropologists might have wanted to avoid military service. Many of these individuals may have believed that the lethal racist policies of the Third Reich were backed by scientific research. Still, the fact that these Nazi anthropologists often used vague and euphemistic language suggests that, on some level, they may have experienced qualms about what they were doing.20
This vagueness subsequently enabled many Nazi anthropologists to escape punishment and continue their careers after the war, sometimes in positions of prominence. Finally, Schafft asks why anthropologists have been so hesitant to explore this dark chapter of their disciplinary history. Perhaps anthropologists don't want to draw further attention to the fact that their participation in public projects has sometimes been ethically suspect and had disastrous results. Others might reply that the Nazi anthropologists were a small fringe group whose work fell outside the mainstream of anthropological thought. Schafft responds by noting that anthropologists throughout the world were using many of the same conceptual categories as Nazi anthropologists, including notions of race, eugenics, and social engineering.
Ultimately, I suspect that the Holocaust is difficult for us to look at because it illustrates how our most fundamental enterprise—examining and characterizing human similarity and difference—may serve as the basis for horrendous deeds, including genocide. Genocidal regimes thrive on the very types of social categories that anthropologists analyze and deploy—peoples, cultures, ethnic groups, nations, religious groups. Anthropology is, in large part, a product of modernity and its essentializing tendencies. However, our discipline has another side, tolerance, which also has its roots in Enlightenment thought and was forcefully expressed by some of the founding figures of anthropology, such as Johann Herder and Franz Boas. Following this other disciplinary tradition, anthropologists have fought against racism and hate, defending the rights of indigenous peoples, demonstrating that categories like race are social constructs situated in particular historical and social contexts, and advocating a general respect for difference. These insights can certainly be extended to combat discourses of genocide. Nevertheless, an understanding of Nazi anthropology may help us to acknowledge and remain aware of our discipline's reductive propensities and the ways in which the forms of knowledge we produce can have powerful effects when put into practice. Annihilating Difference: Local Dimensions of Genocide
Although I have frequently referred to modernity in the singular, I want to emphasize that modernity is not a "thing." The term refers to a number of interrelated processes that give rise to distinct local formations, or "modernities." If genocide has frequently been motivated by and legitimated in terms of metanarratives of modernity, genocide, like modernity itself, is always a local process and cannot be fully comprehended without an experience-near understanding. Thus, modernity and genocide both involve the essentialization of difference, but the ways in which such differences are constructed, manufactured, and viewed may vary considerably across time and place. Moreover, the form and experience of genocidal violence is variably mediated by local knowledge.
These two key dimensions of genocide, modernity and the local, are exemplified by the many "ideological genocides" that have plagued the twentieth century (Smith 1987). In Nazi Germany and Cambodia, for example, genocide was structured by metanarratives of modernity—social engineering, progress, rationality, the elimination of the impure—and related sets of binary oppositions, including:
Nevertheless, the meaning of such conceptual categories took on distinct local forms. Both the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge sought to expunge the impure, but they constructed the impure in different ways. Thus, even as the Nazis justified their destruction of the Jews and other sources of "contamination" in terms of "scientific" knowledge about race and genes, their ideology of hate also drew heavily on German notions of blood, soil, bodily aesthetics, contagion, genealogy, community, and anti-Semitism (Linke 1999, and this volume).
The Khmer Rouge, in turn, legitimated their utopian project of social engineering in terms of Marxist-Leninist "science," which supposedly enabled the "correct and clear—sighted leadership" to construct a new society free of "contaminating" elements (Hinton, forthcoming). In Khmer Rouge ideology, however, the "impure" was often conceptualized in terms of agrarian metaphors and Buddhist notions of (pure) order and (impure) fragmentation. Further, to increase the attractiveness of their message and to motivate their minions to annihilate their "enemies," the Khmer Rouge frequently incorporated pre-existing, emotionally salient forms of Cambodian cultural knowledge into their ideology (Hinton 1998, forthcoming). The essays described in this section of the introduction illustrate the importance of taking into account such local dimensions of genocide.
As suggested by its title, "The Cultural Face of Terror in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994," Christopher Taylor's chapter argues that, while historical, political, and socioeconomic factors played a crucial role in the Rwandan genocide, they remain unable to explain why the violence was perpetrated in certain ways—for example, the severing of Achilles tendons, genital mutilation, breast oblation, the construction of roadblocks that served as execution sites, bodies being stuffed into latrines. This violence, he contends, was deeply symbolic and embodied a cultural patterning. Accordingly, it is imperative for scholars to take cultural factors into account when explaining the genocidal process. Contrasting his position to the cultural determinism of Daniel Goldhagen's (1996) controversial analysis of German political culture, Taylor emphasizes that Rwandan cultural knowledge did not "cause" the genocide and that it is variably internalized by Rwandans. These pre-existing "generative schemes" only came to structure mass violence within a particular ethnohistorical context, one in which other tendencies and metanarratives of modernity—race, essentializing difference, biological determinism, national belonging—were also present.
Drawing on his ethnographic fieldwork in Rwanda, Taylor points out that Rwandan conceptions of the body are frequently structured in terms of a root metaphor of (orderly) flow and (disorderly) blockage. Health and well-being depend upon proper bodily flow. Thus, the bodies of newborn infants are carefully examined to ensure that they are free of "obstructions," such as anal malformations, that would indicate an inability to participate in (flows) of social exchange. Similarly, traditional Rwandan healing practices often center on the attempt to remove obstructing blockages and restore the stricken person's "flow." This root metaphor is analogically linked to a variety of other conceptual domains, ranging from topography to myth. Social exchange constitutes another flow that can be blocked by the deaths of daughters linking families or the failure to fulfill interpersonal obligations. Rwandan kings were sometimes ritually depicted as symbolic conduits through which substances of fertility and nourishment flowed to their subjects. Kings also had the responsibility of removing obstructing beings, such as women who lacked breasts or enemies who threatened the realm. Their power thus contained two contradictory elements: the ability to block obstructing beings and the capacity to guarantee proper social flows. In a variety of domains, then, blockage signified the antithesis of order, an obstruction that had to be removed to ensure personal and communal well-being.
Taylor contends that a great deal of the violence perpetrated during the Rwandan genocide embodied this root metaphor of flow and blockage. In Hutu nationalist discourse, Tutsis were frequently portrayed as the ultimate blocking beings—contaminating foreign "invaders from Ethiopia" who were inherently malevolent and obstructed the social flows of the Hutu nation. Motivated by this ideology of hate and their own self—implicating understandings of blockage and flow, Hutu perpetrators displayed a tendency to carry out their brutal deeds in terms of this cultural idiom. Thus, thousands of "obstructing" Tutsis were dumped in rivers—a signifier of flow in Rwandan cosmology—and thereby expunged from the body politic's symbolic organs of elimination. This analogy between Tutsis and excrement was expressed in another manifestation of violence, the stuffing of Tutsi bodies into latrines.
Throughout the country, Hutu militias also established roadblocks and barriers at which Tutsis were identified, robbed, raped, mutilated, and killed. These sites served as liminal domains in which the Tutsi "obstructors" were blocked and eliminated. Such violence was often perpetrated in ways that inscribed the obstructing status of the victims upon their bodies. To mark Tutsis as blocked beings, Hutus: deprived these victims of their ability to move and live (stopping Tutsis at barriers, where their Achilles tendons were often severed before they were killed in cruel ways); removed their symbolic organs of reproductive social flow (genital mutilation and breast oblation); clogged their bodily conduits (impalement from anus or vagina to mouth); compelled them to engage in asocial acts signifying misdirected flow (rape and forced incest). Taylor concludes by arguing that, while the atrocities committed during the Rwandan genocide were motivated by other factors as well, the pattern of many of the horrible acts must be at least partially explained in term of local understandings of blockage and flow.
Toni Shapiro-Phim's essay, "Dance, Music, and the Nature of Terror in Democratic Kampuchea," explores another experience-near dimension of genocide, the relation between state-sanctioned ideology and daily life. In particular, she analyzes the conjunction between everyday terror and music, song, and dance in the Cambodian genocide. As signifiers of identity, passion, and embodied experience, these aesthetic practices constitute a powerful means of communication and influence. Recognizing this potential efficacy and appeal, sociopolitical organizations—ranging from national governments to religious revivalists—frequently deploy music, song, and dance to inspire their followers. Unfortunately, genocidal regimes also use music, song, and dance to disseminate their discourses of hate.
Democratic Kampuchea (DK) provides a clear illustration of this point. During this genocidal period, Shapiro-Phim notes, the Khmer Rouge banned older, "counterrevolutionary" aesthetic practices. To promote revolutionary change and encourage the destruction of the regime's enemies, the Khmer Rouge created hundreds of new songs and dances. At work sites and meetings, in crammed vehicles and in mess halls, Cambodians, many of whom were exhausted, malnourished, and ill, found themselves inundated with the revolutionary arts. DK songs lauded the sacrifice of slain revolutionaries and urged the populace to seek out and destroy enemies who remained hidden within their midst. Many of these songs, such as "Children of the New Kampuchea," specifically targeted children, who were viewed as "blank slates" upon whom revolutionary attitudes and a selfless devotion to the Party could be more easily imprinted. On more important occasions, revolutionary art troupes performed dances and skits that conveyed a similar message of indoctrination, often modeling revolutionary attitudes and behavior through their dress, lyrics, and movements. To highlight the new ideal of gender equality, male and female performers often dressed and danced similarly. Brusque movements and military demeanor, in turn, suggested that the country was still at war, fighting nature and counterrevolutionaries.
In terms of everyday life, however, there was sometimes a great discrepancy between the ideological discourses embodied in music, song, and dance and the experiences of individuals. Drawing on three life histories, Shapiro-Phim points out that, despite the fact that up to 90 percent of Cambodia's professional artists perished during DK, many precisely because of their "reactionary" backgrounds, other artists survived for the same reasons. Thus, Dara, a former art student, was arrested one night after playing his flute. Even after learning that Dara had been an artist during the old regime, a Khmer Rouge cadre spared Dara's life in return for Dara's promise to play music for him each evening. Similarly, Bun, a former court dancer, survived imprisonment after his interrogator learned of his past vocation. After dancing for the prison that evening, Bun received better treatment and additional food and was one of a small number of the prisoners to survive incarceration. Shapiro-Phim argues that this evidence illustrates that there is no one-to-one correspondence between state ideology and individual practice. Khmer Rouge cadre and soldiers made choices about how to act within varying sets of situational constraints. Moreover, the very inconsistencies and uncertainties that emerge from the discrepancy between official policy and local realities help generate an atmosphere of fear and terror.
Tone Bringa's essay, "Averted Gaze: Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina 1992-1995," illustrates what happens when the international community fails to act in the face of an escalating cycle of dehumanization, exclusionary rhetoric, political violence, and, ultimately, genocide. Bringa carefully examines how the Bosnian genocide emerged in the wake of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Although all of the Yugoslav republics, except for Bosnia-Herzegovina, were designated as the "national home" of a particular people (narod), Tito's Yugoslavia encouraged a superordinate loyalty to the state. On a structural level, transethnic identification was facilitated by the Yugoslav Communist Party and the Yugoslav People's Army. Ideologically, Tito encouraged interethnic ties through a cult of personality and the rubric of "Brotherhood and Unity," a key state tenet (along with "self-management") that played upon a traditional model of cooperation and interaction between various ethnoreligious communities. Drawing on her ethnographic fieldwork in Bosnia in the late 1980s, Bringa emphasizes that, in contrast to common portrayals of Bosnia-Herzegovina as either a seething cauldron of ethnic hatreds or an idyllic, harmonious, multiethnic society, a number of cultural models for interethnic relations existed, some promoting interaction, others exclusion. Moreover, the salience of these models varied across time, person, and place.
Bringa notes that all societies contain the potential for war and peace; these potentialities are actualized within shifting historical contexts. In the former Yugoslavia, Tito's death in 1980 marked the beginning of a gradual process whereby power increasingly devolved to the republics. This process was accelerated toward the end of the 1980s by the fall of the Berlin wall, economic crisis, and the emergence of strident ethnonationalist politicians who played upon popular fears and uncertainty. Whereas Tito had glossed over past conflicts between Yugoslavia's ethnoreligious groups, these new power elites invoked them with a vengeance. In a great irony of history, Slobodan Milosevic and other Serbian leaders frequently referred to the "genocide" that supposedly had been or was being perpetrated against the Serbs, thereby heightening fears of the ethnoreligious "other." Bringa points out that such tactics were part of a larger attempt to radically redefine categories of belonging as the former Yugoslavia broke apart. Modernity's essentializing tendencies once again took a lethal form, as ethnic difference was essentialized and the equation between people and place was redrawn. In an eerie parallel with Nazi anthropology, scholars frequently provided historical, cultural, and linguistic "evidence" to support the exclusionary claims of their leaders. Former friends and neighbors were suddenly redefined as dangerous "foreign enemies" who threatened the survival of the new ethnoreligious state-in-the-making.
Through the manipulation of fear and the "rhetoric of exclusion," ethnonationalist leaders legitimated forced relocations, rape, death camps, and mass violence, which culminated in the genocidal massacres carried out in places like Srebrenica. By the summer of 1992, Serb forces had "ethnically cleansed" more than 70 percent of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Meanwhile, the international community stood by watching, despite numerous reports of what was happening. Why, Bringa asks, did the international community fail to act? In some ways, their inaction was indirectly legitimated through the use of the vague term ethnic cleansing
, which both exoticized the violence and, unlike the term genocide
, did not carry the legal imperative of intervention. The conflict was also often portrayed as being the result of centuries-old hatreds that, because of their supposedly primordial nature, could not be (easily) stopped and, ultimately, seemed to support the power elite's claims that "we cannot live together." Bringa concludes with a plea for scholars and policy-makers to use both macro- and local-level analyses to develop better strategies for predicting and preventing such atrocities from recurring in the future. Genocide's Wake: Trauma, Memory, Coping, and Renewal
With the fury of a tidal wave, genocide unleashes tragedy upon near and distant shores, creating terror upon its arrival, leaving devastation in its wake. Its death toll in the modern era is astounding: well over a hundred million dead. Although ultimately incalculable, the destructive force of genocide is even more widespread, as hundreds of millions of other people—generations of survivors, perpetrators, bystanders, and observers—have been struck, directly and indirectly, by the rippling currents of calamity.21
On the domestic front, genocide leads to massive infrastructure damage and prolonged social suffering, which may include poverty, hunger, mental illness, trauma, somatic symptoms, painful memories, the loss of loved ones, an increased incidence of disease and infant mortality, disrupted communal ties, destabilized social networks, a landscape of mines, economic dependency, desensitization, continued conflict and violence, and massive dislocations of the population. The international community, in turn, touches and is touched by genocide in the form of international aid, media coverage, its acceptance of refugees, the work of U.N. agencies and NGOs, the creation of international tribunals and laws, peace-keeping and military operations, academic scholarship, arms manufacturing (including mines), and the burdensome legacy of its own inaction, as foreign governments have too often stood by, passively watching genocide unfold (see Bringa; Magnarella; Maybury-Lewis; Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock; and other chapters in this volume).
May Ebihara's and Judy Ledgerwood's chapter, "Aftermaths of Genocide: Cambodian Villagers," illustrates how anthropologists can provide an experience-near analysis of the devastation that follows in genocide's wake and how survivors attempt to rebuild their ravaged lives. Ebihara and Ledgerwood's analysis loosely focuses on a hamlet in central Cambodia where approximately half of the population studied by Ebihara in 1959-60 died of starvation, disease, overwork, or outright execution during Democratic Kampuchea (DK), the period of Khmer Rouge rule. These figures exceed the national averages, which are nevertheless appalling: scholars have estimated that 1.7 million of Cambodia's 7.9 million inhabitants, more than 20 percent of the population, perished during this genocidal period (Kiernan 1996; see also Chandler 1991).
When the Khmer Rouge took power, they immediately set out to transform Cambodian society into a socialist utopia. Many of the socioeconomic changes the Khmer Rouge imposed attacked, directly or indirectly, the solidarity of the family/household unit, which previously had been a foundation of social life, economic production, moral obligation, and emotional attachment. In an attempt to subvert this threatening source of loyalty, the Khmer Rouge undercut the familial bond by separating (or killing) family members, inverting age hierarchies, and co-opting familial functions and sentiments. Immediately after DK, Cambodians crisscrossed the country, looking for lost loved ones. Ebihara and Ledgerwood point out how, in Svay and other parts of Cambodia, families slowly began to reconstitute themselves and re-establish social and kinship networks. Earlier patterns of interaction—such as reciprocal aid, economic cooperation, mutual concern, social interchange—gradually re-emerged, though many families have had to grapple with a shortage of male labor, poverty, emotional wounds, and the loss of loved ones.
The Khmer Rouge also attacked another key social institution that commanded popular loyalty, Buddhism. During DK, the Khmer Rouge banned the religion, forced monks to disrobe, and destroyed and desecrated temples, which were sometimes used as prisons, torture and interrogation centers, and execution sites. Like the family and the household, Buddhism has re-emerged as a dominant focus of Cambodian life. Throughout Cambodia, communities have reconstructed temples and re-established the monastic order. Thus, by 1997, the Svay villagers had largely rebuilt the devastated temple compound and supported monks who, as before DK, again play a crucial role in Cambodian life ceremonies. Buddhist beliefs, communal functions, healing rituals, and ceremonies for the dead have also provided Cambodians with an important means of coping with their enormous suffering and loss.
Sadly, despite their admirable accomplishments in rebuilding their lives and overcoming the trauma of genocide, Cambodians have been forced to continue living in an atmosphere of uncertainty and terror. For more than a decade after DK, people feared the return of the Khmer Rouge, who, supported by the United States and other foreign powers, battled government forces in many areas. In addition, armed men and bandits have terrorized people in many parts of the country. Innocent Cambodians have been robbed and killed in random acts of violence, sometimes perpetrated by rogue military or police units that feel they can act with impunity. Elsewhere, military units have appropriated land from defenseless peasants or participated in intensive logging, which represents a serious threat to Cambodia's agricultural and ecological systems. After twenty-five years of conflict, much of it linked to self-serving U.S. policies dating back to the Vietnam War, Cambodia is rife with landmines and guns, and the people still suffer from political instability and violence. Still, despite this uncertain atmosphere, Cambodians continue to rebuild their lives and look forward to a better future.
If Ebihara and Ledgerwood's chapter focuses on the process by which communities rebuild social institutions in the aftermath of genocide, Beatriz Manz's chapter, "Terror, Grief, and Recovery: Genocidal Trauma in a Mayan Village in Guatemala," explores how the victims of genocide cope with trauma. On February 25, 1999, the Commission for Historical Clarification reported that, from 1981 to 1983 alone, Guatemala's Mayan population was the target of a genocidal campaign that included more than six hundred massacres carried out primarily by Guatemalan troops. Over the course of three decades of conflict, over 200,000 Guatemalans were killed or disappeared and another 1.5 million people were displaced.
Manz's essay focuses on Santa Maria Tzejá, a Mayan village where she has conducted research since the early 1970s and that is located in El Quiché province, where 344 massacres took place. Like so many of its surrounding communities, Santa Maria Tzejá was the site of a brutal massacre in which more than a dozen people were slaughtered and the village razed. How, Manz asks, do people cope with such ordeals and a life spent in a climate of fear and terror? The psychological toll of such conflicts runs deep in places like Santa Maria Tzejá, where survivors are haunted by painful memories, emotional swings, somatic pains, and chronic anxiety. Some withdraw into silence, resignation, emotional numbing, or a passivity that impairs their recovery. In addition, familial and communal bonds are often fractured by emotional strain, mistrust, political impunity, and the undermining of social institutions.
What is remarkable about Santa Maria Tzejá, however, is the way in which, despite such trauma and social upheaval, the community has recently been facing this genocidal past. Through public initiatives, such as human rights workshops and communal gatherings, the villagers have broken the veil of silence and fear and initiated a more public form of grieving. Perhaps most strikingly, a group of teenagers helped write and produce a play, There Is Nothing Concealed that Will Not Be Disclosed (Mathew 10:26)
, that directly discusses how the military abused the population and violated various articles in the Guatemalan constitution. Not only did the play have a cathartic effect in Santa Maria Tzejá but it also gained wider national and even international attention for its attempt to come to grips with and provide a healing form of remembering for the traumas of the past. Unfortunately, the village has paid a price for their communal grieving. On May 14, 2000, just ten days after some Santa Maria Tzejá villagers filed a suit against three military generals on charges of genocide, the village's cooperative store was burned to the ground.
Implicated in the origins of genocide, modernity has shaped its aftermath as well. On the conceptual level, terms like trauma
, and cruelty
are linked to discourses of modernity. All of them presume a certain type of human subject—citizens with rights over their bodies, which are the loci of social suffering.22
Paradoxically, however, modernity is also associated with the centralization of political control and the predominance of state sovereignty, creating a situation in which modern subjects are regulated by state disciplines that may necessitate the very type of bodily suffering their "rights" are supposed to protect against (for example, the cruelties perpetrated against prisoners, protesters, adversaries in war, "traitors," threatening minorities). Moreover, since modern states, like modern subjects, are supposed to have "rights" over their body politic, other states cannot violate their sovereignty, leading to another paradox in which international inaction about genocide is legitimated by metanarratives of modernity.
Suffering itself has been harnessed by the economic engine of modernity—capitalism. In the mass media, the victims of genocide are frequently condensed into an essentialized portrait of the universal sufferer, an image that can be commodified, sold, and (re)broadcast to global audiences who see their own potential trauma reflected in this simulation of the modern subject.23
Refugees frequently epitomize this modern trope of human suffering; silent and anonymous, they signify both a universal humanity and the threat of the premodern and uncivilized, which they have supposedly barely survived. However, refugees also threaten modernity in another way. As "citizens" uprooted from their homeland, refugees occupy a liminal space that calls into question modernity's naturalizing premise of sociopolitical homogeneity and nationalist belonging. 24
Likewise, when refugee populations are resettled abroad, they raise the same question that unsettles the nation-states—where do they
belong? Particularly in the global present, as such diverse populations and images flow rapidly across national borders, the primacy of the nation-states has come under siege. If modernity inflects genocide, then genocide, in turn, inverts modernity, as it creates diasporic communities that threaten to undermine its culminating political incarnation, the nation-states.
Uli Linke's essay, "Archives of Violence: The Holocaust and the German Politics of Memory," examines such linkages between modernity and genocide through the idea of social memory. Drawing on her earlier work (Linke 1999), Linke argues that Nazi racial aesthetics—exemplified by tropes of blood, purity and contamination, the body, and excrement—have persisted in German cultural memory and are manifest in a variety of sociopolitical forms. In exploring this issue, Linke's essay addresses an issue too often ignored in genocide studies: the effect of genocide on perpetrators and bystanders and their descendants. Linke notes that, immediately after the Holocaust, Germans reacted to their painful and embarrassing legacy with silence, denial, and concealment.
In the 1960s, however, German youths began to confront their Nazi past in at least two salient ways. First, many youths began to act as if the atrocities were carried out by another generation that had led them, like Jews, to suffer greatly under a historical burden.25
And, second, the West German New Left student movement attempted to negate the values of the past. White nakedness, in particular, emerged as an emblem of coping and restoration. If uniformed German male bodies were the instruments of genocide, their brutal deeds could be symbolically overcome through public nudity, which both expressed the legacy of shame (by uncovering the body like the hidden past) and freed German youths from this burden (by signifying the possibility of return to a pure and "natural" way of life, untainted by Auschwitz). However, the glorification of nature and the German body resonated eerily with Nazi volk
ideology and Aryan ideals.
Even more disturbing was the direct manifestation of such Nazi racial aesthetics in German political discourse. On the far right, German politicians have portrayed immigrants as impure foreign bodies that, like Jews during the Holocaust, must be removed from the German body politic. Some German leftists, in turn, have used similar images of disease and pollution to characterize the far right, who are portrayed as Nazi "filth" that must be expunged. In both cases, modernity's essentializing impulses re-emerge in the quest for national homogeneity, racial purity, and the expulsion of impure and dehumanized "others," who are likened to polluting excrement.
Linke notes that, when making this argument in Germany, she has encountered great resistance and opposition. She argues that these attitudes are another manifestation of modernity's teleological myth of "progress" and "civilization," which portrays such violent imagery as a regressive aberration. Following Bauman (1991), Linke maintains that modernity, with its impulses toward centralized state control, exterminatory racism, and social engineering, is directly implicated in genocide. Genocide, in other words, is a product of, not an aberration from, modern social life. Obviously, modernity does not lead to genocide in any direct causal sense. It emerges only within certain historical contexts, usually involving socioeconomic upheaval, polarized social divisions, extreme dehumanization, and a centralized initiative to engage in mass killing (see Kuper 1981). Thus, despite the fact that some Nazi racial aesthetics seem to have endured in German social memory, there is little likelihood of a genocide taking place in contemporary Germany. Nevertheless, it is important for scholars to monitor and examine how such discourses persist over time, shaping genocide's wake. Critical Reflections: Anthropology and the Study of Genocide
Although the behaviors it references have an ancient pedigree, the concept of genocide, like the idea of anthropology, is thoroughly modern. It is predicated upon a particular conception of the human subject, who is "naturally" endowed with certain rights—the foremost of which is, of course, the right to life. This modern subject, however, lives in a paradoxical world. While supposedly equal, people are also different. Modern subjects are imagined as containers of natural identities—race, ethnicity, nationality, religion—that are resistant to change. The nation-states is metaphorically likened to the individual; it, too, has an essential identity and certain rights, such as "sovereignty," that should not be violated. "Law" and "justice" serve as mechanisms to protect these rights. The United Nations Convention on Genocide manifests all of these discourses of modernity: a law against genocide is enacted to protect the natural rights of individuals who, because of their natural identities, have been targeted for annihilation. The paradox of genocide lies in the fact that the very state that is supposed to prevent genocide is usually the perpetrator. International legal mechanisms, in turn, falter because the international community fears "violating" the sovereignty of one of its members. After all, it might set a dangerous precedent. The usual result, recently illustrated in Rwanda, is prolonged debate, delay, and inaction.
Like genocide, anthropology is premised upon discourses of modernity. As noted earlier, anthropology emerged from the colonial encounter as modernity's discipline of difference. Using "scientific" methods, early anthropologists set out to characterize and discover laws about human similarity and variation. Sadly, their early pronouncements too often contributed to genocidal ideologies about "progress" and essentialized difference. This linkage between genocide and modernity constitutes one of the main undercurrents of John Bowen's critical reflections on the volume, entitled "Culture, Genocide, and a Public Anthropology." Bowen warns that anthropologists, who are in the business of explaining human variation, must be extremely cautious about the way they characterize difference, since the resulting categories have been incorporated into public projects of hate—ranging from Nazi notions of racial hierarchy (Schafft and Arnold) to ethnic stereotypes of Latinos in the United States (Nagengast). The very act of categorizing entails essentialization, as certain naturalized traits are attributed to given groups. Nationalist ideologies thrive on such characterizations, since they construct unmarked categories of normalcy that privilege, and often legitimate, domination by one type of person over another (marked, subordinated, binary opposite, dehumanized) one. In extreme cases, such discourses of hierarchical difference may serve to underwrite genocide. Accordingly, anthropologists must carefully consider how to best transmit their ideas to the general public and monitor the ways in which notions of difference are later invoked in the public domain.
At the same time, Bowen notes that the anthropological expertise in unpacking local categories might also help us to better understand mass violence. On the domestic and international fronts, anthropologists can point out how public discourses about violence inform political policy and response. The term ethnic conflict
, for example, invokes a set of explanatory narratives implying that violence is the inevitable result of a "seething cauldron" of endogenous, ancient hatreds that erupt when not suppressed by the state. Popular narratives of "genocide," in turn, suggest that mass murder has an exogenous origin, as leaders like Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot manipulate their followers to annihilate victims. Both of these overly reductive narratives have influenced media portrayals of, and political responses to, genocidal violence.
Both narratives also oversimplify perpetrator motivation. Thus, in Indonesia, where Bowen has conducted ethnographic research, the media commonly portrays violence in places like Ambon, Kalimantan, and Aceh as primordial religious or ethnic conflict. Bowen points out that the actors in these locales have complex motivations that are more about local fears and struggles over local resources, autonomy, and power than about "ancient hatreds" (see also Bringa). Several essays in this volume directly or indirectly unpack the narratives associated with terms such as ethnic conflict
(Bringa, Taylor) and indigenous peoples
(Maybury-Lewis; Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock), and the "stable and permanent groups" invoked in the U.N. Genocide Convention (Bringa, Magnarella), which have often contributed to political inaction and legal paradoxes. Other essays illustrate the ways in which cultural analysis may be used to explicate how the forms of violence are shaped by local idioms in a nonreductive manner (Linke, Nagengast, Shapiro-Phim, Taylor). For Bowen, then, an anthropology of genocide needs to move carefully between an understanding of the local knowledge that structures the forms of violence and the "second—order representations"—including those of anthropologists—that shape popular discourses and public policy. As opposed to deploying reductive, essentialized categories, we need to focus on process.
Elsewhere, I have suggested that we might use the term genocidal priming
to reference the set of interwoven processes that generate such mass violence (Hinton 2002). To "prime" something is to make it ready or prepared, as in preparing "(a gun or mine) for firing by inserting a charge of gunpowder or a primer." The intransitive form of the verb means "to prepare someone or something for future action or operation" (American Heritage Dictionary
1976:1040), and, like the transitive verb, implies that which comes first. By genocidal priming, then, I refer to a set of processes that establish the preconditions for genocide to take place within a given sociopolitical context. Considering the "charged" connotations of the term, we might further conceptualize genocidal priming using a metaphor of heat: specific situations will become more or less "hot" and volatile—or more likely to be "set off"—as certain processes unfold.26
What are these processes?
Although genocide is a complex phenomenon that cannot be reduced to a uniform pattern, many genocides are characterized by common processes that make the social context in question increasingly "hot," including socioeconomic upheaval, polarized social divisions, structural change, and effective ideological manipulation (Fein 1990; Harff and Gurr 1998; Kuper 1981). All of the cases discussed in this volume are suggestive in this regard. First, genocides are almost always preceded by some sort of socioeconomic upheaval—ranging from the epidemic diseases that devastated indigenous peoples in the Americas to the Vietnam War that wreaked havoc in Cambodia—which may generate anxiety, hunger, a loss of meaning, the breakdown of pre-existing social mechanisms, and struggles for power. Second, as Leo Kuper (1981; see also Furnivall 1956) has so vividly illustrated, the likelihood of genocide increases as social divisions are deepened because of segregation and differential legal, sociocultural, political, educational, and economic opportunities afforded to social groups. Thus, in postcolonial Rwanda, Tutsis were systematically excluded from political power and faced discrimination across a range of social contexts; Armenians, Jews, and many indigenous peoples have faced similarly difficult circumstances. Third, perpetrator regimes frequently introduce legislation or impose policies that further polarize social divisions. The Nuremberg Laws, the disarming of Armenians, the "privatization" of indigenous lands, and the Khmer Rouge's radical transformation of Cambodian society constitute some of the more infamous examples of such structural changes. And, fourth, the likelihood of genocide increases greatly when perpetrator regimes effectively disseminate messages of hate. Such ideological manipulation, which frequently draws upon local idioms that are highly salient to at least some social groups, serve to essentialize difference and legitimate acts of genocidal violence against victim groups, who are usually portrayed as subhuman outsiders standing in the way of the purity, well-being, or progress of the perpetrator group. In this manner Hutus are set against Tutsis, Germans against Jews, and the "civilized" against the "savage."
As these and other facilitating processes unfold, genocide becomes increasingly possible. Not all of these "hot" situations, however, result in mass violence. International pressures, local moral restraints, political and religious mechanisms, or a lack of ideological "take" may hold potential perpetrator regimes in check and, in the long run, facilitate a cooling of tensions (see Kuper 1981). In other situations, such the plight of Latinos in the United States (Nagengast, this volume), the process of genocidal priming may never be more than "lukewarm." However, when the priming is "hot" and genocide does take place, there is almost always some sort of "genocidal activation" that ignites the "charge" that has been primed. Bowen notes that this "push" often comes from leaders who use panic, fear, and material gain to incite their followers to kill. For example, in Rwanda, which became primed for genocide over the course of several years, the mysterious shooting down of President Habyarimana's plane served as the pretext for Hutu extremists to instigate mass killing.
Anthropologists have a great deal to contribute to our understanding of genocidal priming and activation. Scholars working in the Boasian tradition have an expertise in analyzing cultural knowledge that can help us better understand how genocidal violence is patterned and why given ideological messages have greater or lesser "take" among different segments of a population. An examination of the cultural construction of emotion and other embodied discourses could be extremely revealing about perpetrator motivation and the efficacy of ideology. Symbolic anthropologists, in turn, have developed analytical tools that would yield rich insights about structure and meaning of perpetrator rituals, key symbols and iconography, use of time and space, and political rites. Further, we could use our expertise at unpacking local idioms to describe how categories of difference are invoked in "hot" situations and suggest ways they might be "cooled down" by alternative discourses that, in a culturally sensitive manner, stress intergroup ties, promote local mechanisms of conflict resolution, and rehumanize potential victim groups. Moreover, since anthropologists often have ethnographic experience in the locales in which genocidal priming becomes "hot," they are ideally situated to issue public warnings about what might occur. Since the early days of British structural-functionalism, anthropologists have also examined structural dynamics, a concern that has most recently been inflected by Marxist and poststructuralist theorists. Surely anthropological insights gleaned from such research—about structural inequality, political legitimacy, structural order, symbolic violence, rites of passage, schizmogenesis, group solidarity, and so forth—could be applied to the study of genocide.
Nancy Scheper-Hughes's essay, "Coming to Our Senses: Anthropology and Genocide," touches on several of these issues. Because of their disciplinary training methods, relativist ethos, and (in)direct involvement in questionable projects, Scheper-Hughes notes, anthropologists have been predisposed to overlook the forms of political terror and "everyday violence" that often afflict the peoples whom they study. Even more troubling are the instances in which anthropologists—including some of the discipline's founding figures—have passively stood by while genocide took place, sometimes accepting the dehumanizing metanarratives that legitimate the destruction of victim groups. The very idea of "salvage ethnography" reflects anthropology's ambivalent relation to genocide. On the one hand, early anthropologists often accepted the destruction of indigenous peoples as the inevitable consequence of social evolution and "progress." On the other, many of these same scholars took an active role in preserving and documenting the cultural life of these disappearing groups.
Scheper-Hughes illustrates this point with a detailed analysis of Alfred Kroeber's relationship with Ishi, whom he called the "last California aborigine," in the early twentieth century. At the same time that he befriended and helped Ishi, Kroeber failed to speak out about the genocide that had devastated Ishi's Yahis and other Native American groups. Moreover, Kroeber also allowed his key informant to be exhibited at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of California on Sundays and, most strikingly, he permitted Ishi's brain to be shipped to the Smithsonian Institute for examination and curation—despite Kroeber's knowledge of Yahi beliefs about the dead and Ishi's dislike of the study of skulls and other body parts. Rather than simply excusing Kroeber because he lived in a time period during which a different set of beliefs was ascendant, Scheper-Hughes argues that we must consider how things might have been done differently. The importance of such reflection was highlighted in 1999 when Ishi's brain was found in a Smithsonian warehouse, and the Berkeley Department of Anthropology deliberated issuing a statement about the department's role in what had happened to Ishi.
More broadly, Scheper-Hughes argues that anthropologists should directly confront a question at the heart of this volume: What makes genocide possible? She maintains that, to comprehend genocide fully, we must go beyond typical cases and examine "small wars and invisible genocides" in which the structural dynamics taken to an extreme in genocide are manifest in everyday life. "Rubbish people" suffer in both times of war and peace. Thus, street children in Brazil attempt to survive in a liminal, degraded space that is viewed as dangerous and threatening. Few people notice or care when these "dirty vermin" disappear or die, frequently at the hands of police and death squads who describe their murder as "trash removal," "street cleaning," or "urban hygiene." Similarly, the elderly are turned into rubbish people in nursing homes where underpaid workers often drop their personal names, ignore their wishes, associate them with the impure, and treat them like objects. Such institutionalized forms of everyday violence reconstruct the subjectivity of the elderly, who, lacking the means to resist, are ultimately forced to accept their new, dehumanized status. For Scheper-Hughes, it is precisely by examining this "genocidal continuum" in the practices of everyday life that anthropologists can contribute to the understanding of genocide.
In her essay, "Inoculations of Evil in the U.S.-Mexican Border Region: Reflections on the Genocidal Potential of Symbolic Violence," Carole Nagengast makes a similar argument about the genocidal potential of everyday symbolic violence. Following a tradition established by Leo Kuper (1981), Nagengast examines a situation in which difference has been essentialized—the plight of Latino "aliens" in the United States—yet hasn't led to genocide. She argues that, although Latinos are victimized by forms of symbolic and physical violence analogous to those that take place in genocide, certain constraints exist that have prevented such violence from escalating into genocide. It is precisely by making comparisons between cases and noncases of genocide that scholars may begin to develop predictive models and preventative solutions.
Beginning with examples of how U.S. Border Patrol agents have shot and killed innocent Latinos near the U.S.-Mexican border, Nagengast argues that the frequent abuse of Latinos has been legitimated and normalized by various forms of symbolic violence. Given that the nation-states seeks homogeneity, it is not surprising that nationalist discourse in the United States often deploys a set of images about "belonging" that mark difference from the norm—in this case, the unmarked category of white, middle-class, employed, "straight," English-speaking, married males. Although many people in the United States are excluded from this category, Latinos have been increasingly marked as "different" since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent search for new "enemies." In the media, political speeches, and community discourses, Latino "otherness" is constructed around myths of the violent Mexican drug runner, the welfare cheat, and the "illegal alien" who takes jobs away from U.S. citizens. Bit by bit, Nagengast contends, the American public has become "immunized" by these symbolic "inoculations of evil," which naturalize violence against the threatening "other" and seemingly justify drastic measures—racial profiling, "raids" on Latino neighborhoods, discrimination and mistreatment, and even such "unfortunate but necessary" excesses as rape, beatings, and murder. In fact, the "threat" posed by these "aliens" has been portrayed as so extreme as to legitimate the militarization of the border zone.
Ultimately, Nagengast maintains, these forms of symbolic and physical violence are analogous to those that take place in genocide: a despised group is demonized in dehumanizing discourses and, already in a weakened social position, is increasingly victimized by discriminatory state policy. Nevertheless, the plight of Latinos in the United States, while an issue of great concern, has not escalated into genocide. By examining the reasons why genocide does not occur in such situations, scholars may better understand the processes that lead to mass violence and the ways in which genocidal violence might be predicted or prevented. In this case, Latinos have been helped by immigrant rights organizations that use the legal system to defend the rights of Latinos and describe their plight to the media. (The media therefore plays a dual role in this situation, simultaneously highlighting the plight of Latinos and portraying Latinos as dehumanized and threatening "others.") Nevertheless, such organizations have had trouble generating a public outcry against the abuse of Latinos because of prejudice, and they face difficulties in a legal system that has increasingly restricted the rights of immigrants. Even in a liberal democracy like the United States, which supposedly guarantees the rights of minorities, then, genocide may take place—a point clearly demonstrated by the atrocities perpetrated against indigenous peoples. Accordingly, Nagengast's chapter argues that we must carefully monitor and publicly decry the plight of disempowered groups that are in the process of being victimized by forms of symbolic and physical violence that often precede genocide.
As Nagengast; Scheper-Hughes; Totten, Parsons, and Hitchcock; and other contributors to this volume suggest, the anthropology of genocide will greatly contribute to and benefit from research in other fields. Genocide is always a local process, so the experience-near, ethnographic understandings of anthropology will be of enormous importance to other scholars. Anthropologists, in turn, will benefit greatly from the (often) more macro-level insights about genocide and political violence from other fields. Concepts such as Foucault's "microphysics of power" provide an important link between such emic and etic levels of analysis. On a more practical level, the possibility exists for productive interdisciplinary collaboration and activism. Several contributors to this volume, including Tone Bringa and Paul Magnarella, have effectively worked with lawyers and other scholars on United Nations missions to and international tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Likewise, Robert Hitchcock and David Mabury-Lewis have been at the forefront of a diverse movement to defend indigenous peoples. Forensic anthropologists have worked with health professions, lawyers, photographers, and nongovernmental organization to analyze physical remains and gather evidence with which to prosecute perpetrators. Certainly, many other examples could be provided.27
In conclusion, then, the essays in this volume suggest that, drawing on research and theory from a variety of disciplines, anthropologists stand poised to make an enormous contribution to the study of genocide. On the one hand, we can provide insight into the ethnohistorical causes of genocide by answering such questions as: How is genocide linked to modernity? How are notions of race, ethnicity, and other social identities essentialized and manipulated by genocidal regimes? What are the processes by which "imagined communities" are constructed to exclude dehumanized victim groups? What political, historical, and socioeconomic circumstances are conducive to genocide? How do genocidal regimes appropriate cultural knowledge to motivate their minions to kill? How might genocides be predicted or prevented? Can genocidal regimes sometimes be characterized as revitalization movements? How are ritual processes involved in genocide?
On the other hand, anthropologists have the ability to point out how genocide affects victim groups and how they respond to their plight. What are the mental, physical, and somatic consequences of genocide? How do victims deal with such trauma? How are social networks torn asunder through death, dislocation, and diaspora? How do victims go about reconstructing their social networks and using them as a means of coping with their suffering? How are images of victims manufactured in the media and how do such images influence the international response? As the essays in this volume demonstrate, by answering such questions, anthropologists can make great progress toward developing an anthropology of genocide. References Cited
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