Genocide, Remembrance, and Commemoration

Throughout the modern age, China has experienced events of genocide and mass violence on an unprecedented scale. From the middle of the 19th century up to the 1990s, tens of millions were killed in organized and planned massacres in East and Southeast Asia. Until recent years, research on genocide and mass violence events was based mainly on European case studies, primarily the Holocaust of the Jews, from which the field’s research paradigms emerged.

A close look at the history of mass killings in the world’s most populated continent reveals different narratives. In Asia, these events can be examined in many different contexts, including the decline of the traditional empires; collision with European, American, and Japanese colonialism; growth of diasporas, and emergence of the nation-state. The perpetuation of some massacres in the collective memory and the obliteration of others can be studied through comparison to other cultures of remembrance. Recent research trends in this field are not only directing attention to Asia, but causing researchers to re-examine European genocide events in light of the new insights arising from the history of genocide and mass violence events in the colonial world.

Dr. Roni Sarig’s research deals with War World II remembrance in Japanese and Israeli children’s literature. She is also engaged in a comparative study of the narratives presented in Holocaust museums in Japan and Europe. Dr. Michal Zelcer-Lavid studies remembrance of massacres and mass violence among Tibetans, Mongols, and Uyghurs in China. Dr. Ran Shuli’s research concerns remembrance of massacres and mass violence in the Chinese diasporas in Southeast Asia.