Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Zachary Scarlett


Rather than seeking to give a causal explanation of genocide and ethnic cleansing, I ask the more pointed question “are there patterns present at the societal level that signal the potentiality of genocide in a given cultural context?” Through examination of two socially and temporally distinct instances of genocide, the Bosnian genocide and the Uyghur genocide, I argue that there exist certain patterns which precede historical instances of genocide and that these antecedent phenomena contribute to the potential for genocide in those societies. I identify three broad trends that contribute to the potential of genocide: the cultivation of ethnic nationalism among an ethnic majority with significant political power, the employment of mythologizing rhetoric by political elites in constructing relevant identities and using the cultural memory of past instances of extreme violence (real or manufactured) to substantiate the risk posed by a certain group to the whole.