The past can predict the future. I carry this quote with me throughout every day. Many may say that we cannot predict what happens in the future. Although this statement can be very true, I believe that what has happened before now has more of an affect on future developments that many of us can fathom. This can include things like technological advancements, population increases, and most importantly war and peace. These things can socially construct societal stereotypes which can expose hypocrisy and corrupt minds. Historically this has created severe aftermath, which, in some circumstances ultimately led to war and genocide. Only learning about the Jewish Holocaust vaguely in middle or high school is not enough time to understand how this can affect human rights “A clear and well-informed understanding of the Holocaust, the paradigmatic genocide, may help educators and students understand other genocides, mass atrocities, and human rights violations” (“The Holocaust and Other Genocides.”).

With a double major in international and women’s studies, HGS is greatly concentrated in both majors. Refugees, immigrants, women, etc. have all been heavily affected by genocides, ethnic cleansings, and terrorist attacks are still happening to this day. Most of us only are aware of the Jewish Holocaust and understand that this had a tremendous impact on Germany as a nation. The Armenian, Rwandan, and Darfur genocides have also had big impacts on their nation’s culture, sovereignty, and peace. The United Nations vigilantly plays a big peacekeeping role within the IO realm. According to the UN, genocide was first considered a crime under international law in 1946 (“United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.”). It can be very tricky to convent one of genocide because it can be a loophole which can be ‘acts of genocide’ instead of just defining it as genocide. As a result, the act of genocide will not be convicted and instead let off with minor consequences.

The image above shows a little boy standing in front of a cemetery during the Rwandan genocide. The civil war between the Hutu and Tutsis ethnicities had led to a mass killing of approximately eight hundred thousand people in less than hundred and fifty days (“The Rwandan Genocide.”). The war against human rights continues to happen day after day. There are people who fight to survive for a country that is supposed to be theirs, that can result in devasting and traumatic consequences (i.e. Rwandan Genocide). I strongly urge peers and colleagues who study either international or women’s studies to look at HGS due it’s importance of massacres, crimes against humanity, and genocides that happen because can influence different intersections (race, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and social class). Kristin A. Bell and Nicole Rafter focus on the impact that genocide and gender have one another. The argue that studying genocide from a gendered perspective will radically shift the ideology of the UN’s definition of genocide:

“In the years ahead, examining genocide from the perspective of gender is likely to transform genocide studies and even genocide prosecutions. It will force a redefinition of genocide and perhaps a formal revision of the UN’s Convention on Genocide to recognize a fifth category–gender–in addition to the four groups already protected by the UN (those defined by nationality, ethnicity, race, and religion). It will also force us to find new ways to count genocide’s victims, one that goes beyond what Kaiser and Hagan (forthcoming: 3) call “the hegemonic focus on killing” to include both victims who outlive the immediate violence and those who are harmed by gender-based atrocities” (17-8).

Works Cited

“The Holocaust and Other Genocides.” IHRA, www.holocaustremembrance.com/educational-materials/holocaust-and-other-genocides.

Rafter, Nicole, and Kristin A. Bell. Gender and Genocide*. www.asc41.com/Annual_Meeting/2013/Presidential%20Papers/ASC_2013_Presidential-Paper_Rafter,%20Nicole-Bell,%20Kristin.pdf. 1-24.

“The Rwandan Genocide.” United to End Genocide, endgenocide.org/learn/past-genocides/the-rwandan-genocide/.

“United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.html.


Kendra Edwards is a Senior undergraduate freelance writer from Old Dominion University, who found her niche for writing in her Sophomore year of college. Since high school, Kendra has always had a fascination in creative writing that has carried throughout her college career and has focused on topics of refugee resettlement and feminist perspective. Currently in May, she created a sensory creative writing piece called ‘A Day in the Life of a Refugee” for a Women’s Studies event on campus. As a fanatical pop culture enthusiast, she also likes to intertwine her think pieces with her love for music, film, and art, creating other short reviews that may relate to gendered or intersectional feminist approaches.