Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MAH)

Department

History

First Advisor

Richard Byers

Second Advisor

Tamara Spike

Third Advisor

Cristian Harris

Abstract

Gender and economics are inherent parts of genocide, but few sources consider the connection between these two. This thesis contends that gender dictates responses to economic incentives during genocide and mass violence by comparing the Holocaust and Argentina's Dirty War. Chapter One evaluates gender in Germany during the Holocaust, specifically looking at the Wehrmacht and participating women in Eastern Europe. The hyper-masculinity of Nazism was the culmination of social and cultural indoctrination originating with Germany's colonization of Africa, while the limited work on female participation in Eastern Europe is the result of women's delegation to the private sphere. Chapter Two then does the same for the Dirty War in Argentina. For men, it looks at the military as well as specifically examining the case of Jacobo Timerman and what it reveals about the nature of gender and citizenship under the military junta. Female victims and how they view their experience in torture camps as intertwined with their gender as well as a section on the rarity of female perpetrators, or research on them, form the section on women. Chapter Three compares the two events to demonstrate that gender dictates how one responded to economic incentives in both the Holocaust and the Dirty War in Argentina. It argues that in the case of looting, for example, women were more likely to steal based on the instinct to protect the community and justify it as a means of protecting the domestic sphere while the response of men was often contingent on the escalation of violence, particularly relating to the commodification of bodies and the dehumanization of people to property. Major influences on this thesis include the process of identity formation through violence and the ways in which torture is used as social communication. This comparison of events serves to broaden the field of genocide studies through a framework that demonstrates that the processes of genocide themselves remain the same, but that our understanding and study of genocide must become more nuanced.

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