ISS325 Course Overview

ISS325: War & Revolution

The Roots of Genocide

Dr. Christina DeJong

Course Description

This course will investigate the roots of genocide; specifically, the social processes that can drive all societies toward genocide. We investigate how those processes appear in small ways (and sometimes bigger ways) in U.S. culture. We will examine social science research that attempts to explain why many individuals choose not to act when faced with horrific violence, while others risk life and limb to assist those in need. Finally, we discuss the International Criminal Court methods for trying those accused of genocide and the similarities and differences with the criminal courts in the United States.

Example Lesson

This is a typical lesson in ISS325. Rather than lecture, the instructor provides a short write-up of the issue at hand, followed by the specific learning outcomes for the lesson. Additional information is provided after, usually in the form of videos, interactive readings, or other multimedia content. At the end of each lesson, students complete a quiz (which can be taken up to three times to maximize learning).

Course Competencies

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

Explain how the stages of genocide appear in non-genocidal countries, especially in the United States.

Apply theories of human behavior to genocide perpetration, as well as those theories that explain bystanding and rescuing 

Explain how the international community reacts to claims of genocide, and why they are slow to respond

Evaluate media stories on issues related to class, and indicate their reliability and political leanings

Assessment Methods

The course competencies (above) are assessed in several ways. There are no exams in the course–instead, our assessments are more focused on learning and doing:

Each lesson has a quiz focused on the readings & materials for that class. Students can take the quiz up to three times to maximize their score. The three lowest quiz grades are dropped at the end of the term.

There are seven discussion forums throughout the course (one each week in summer, every other week in Spring/Fall semesters). The lowest grade is dropped at the end of the term.

There are two media analyses, in which students discuss the media representation of stories related to issues discussed in class.

There are seven short research activities throughout the course (one each week in summer, every other week in Spring/Fall semesters). The lowest grade is dropped at the end of the term.

About the Instructor

Dr. Christina DeJong is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State Univeristy.

Her research focuses on the intersection of gender, sexuality, crime, and justice, with a specific focus on the victimization of LGBTQ+ people. She also studies issues surrounding incarceration and post-release issues for those released from prisons and jails.

Dr. DeJong teaches undergraduate courses on genocide as well as gender, sexuality, crime and justice. In these classes, she uses findings from social science research to explain current events, particularly those related to discrimination and inequality. Her graduate courses cover research methods and advanced statistical analysis.

Student Feedback

“I loved this class. I thought it was set up so well and the content was so interesting. I appreciated the mix of analyzing past events and applying those to our lives today. This was my favorite class I have taken at MSU and I wish I could take it again.”

“This course was great! I’ve recommended to everyone who still has an ISS requirement. Professor DeJong is great about making sure she is giving students adequate time to do assignments, as well as makes sure she’s using students’ time effectively in class. This course is also very interesting and engaging.”

“I loved my instructor so much. She put herself in our shoes and thought about how she could make the class fun. I learned about genocide and noticed that there are a lot of things which lead for genocide to happen, and those are pretty ordinary things. We do those things even though we do not notice.”

“Absolutely amazing professor and course. Recommend to everyone I know!”

Contact Dr. DeJong
+1 517 432 1998

655 Auditorium Road, Room 557

School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI 48824

%d bloggers like this: