About the Center
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research is dedicated to advancing new areas of interdisciplinary research on the Holocaust and other genocides, focusing on the origins of genocide and how to intervene in the cycle that leads to mass violence.
Its establishment as the research and scholarship unit of the USC Shoah Foundation in April 2014 signified an important milestone for genocide research internationally.
Founding Director Wolf Gruner, USC Professor of History and Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies, is an internationally recognized expert on the Holocaust and genocide studies. He has published 10 books and numerous articles on the Holocaust in Europe as well as on mass violence against indigenous peoples in Latin America.
The Center organizes annual international workshops and conferences, hosts a speaker series on genocide and mass violence, and hosts a research fellowship program, which convenes an international community of scholars, young academics, and students.
Since the University of Southern California is the only world-renowned private research institution that houses substantial original material from the Holocaust and other genocides in its archives, the Center for Advanced Genocide Research is uniquely positioned to advance the interdisciplinary study of mass violence.
“Los Angeles is home to the largest survivor communities of several genocides – including those that occurred in Armenia, Cambodia and Guatemala,” Dr. Gruner said. “USC is a fitting locale for this intellectual hub of international and interdisciplinary scholarship on the topic of Holocaust and genocide studies.”
While the Center promotes research and scholarship on genocide in general, it focuses on the following three primary themes:
Resistance to Genocide and Mass Violence
To study conditions and factors – historically and contemporarily – that enable people, groups and societies to slow down or stop the course of mass violence. Here the Center focuses on acts of resistance that inhibit the impact of genocidal ideology and/or defy its policies.
Violence, Emotion and Behavioral Change
To explore the nature of mass violence and its emotional, social, psychological, historical, and physical impacts on individual behavior, and to deepen the understanding of the individual experience as reflected in personal testimonies of survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators. The Center advances the application of such knowledge in fostering behavior and/or behavioral change in resisting mass violence.
Digital Genocide Studies
To examine how large digital data sets, such as the fully indexed 52,000 video testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, can be used for a sophisticated quantitative analysis of complex human phenomena. The Center seeks to establish patterns of behavior in the field of mass violence and its resistance.