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About Ben Kiernan

Ben Kiernan is professor of history and director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University. He is the author of The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79 (Yale University Press, 2nd edition, 2002) and How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Communism in Cambodia, 1930-1975 ((Yale University Press, 2nd edition, 2004)   Ben Kiernan's most recent book is Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (Yale University Press, 2007)

Articles by Ben Kiernan

This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Blood and soil: the global history of genocide

"At the beginning of the world", said the Portuguese Jesuit Manuel de Nóbrega in 1559, "all was homicide." This was a suspect but significant statement. From the 16th century, many Europeans began looking to ancient precedents, even for genocide, a phenomenon that had become more frequent after European expansion accelerated in 1492. A cult of antiquity inspired those on the brink of modernity even as they took up technological innovations, including some that facilitated mass murder (see Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man, Cambridge University Press, 1982).

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