‘Psychology Of Genocide’ Focus Of UNM Bookstore Lecture

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UNM Today
September 2008

Clinical psychologist Steven K. Baum uses eyewitness accounts in his
book "The Psychology of Genocide," which he will discuss and sign
Friday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. at the UNM Bookstore, 2301 Central Ave. NE,
at the intersection of Cornell and Central. Parking will be validated
in the parking structure for up to one hour with purchase.

Photo: Steven K. Baum

In the last century, 262 million people have been victims of genocide,
with Jews, Armenians, Cambodians, Darfurians, Kosovons and Rwandans
among them. The horrors of genocide are more poignant as patterns
emerge. There are those who commit brutal acts, there are those who
resist genocide and help victims, and there are those who position
themselves in the middle, taking neither side. Baum reveals what
patterns of personality and psychology emerge during wartime that
give rise to these conditions.

He also examines the complex relationship between social and personal
knowledge, and how people conflate stereotype with personal experience.

In "The Psychology of Genocide: Perpetrators, Bystanders, and Rescuers"
(Cambridge University Press, August 7), Baum builds on trait theory and
social psychology, re-examining our understanding of conformity. Baum
presents a new understanding of identity and emotional development
during genocide, showing that behavior during genocide mirrors behavior
in everyday life.

Despite heightened awareness of the tragic circumstances from which
genocide arises, and unprecedented instant news coverage from around
the world, this greatest of tragedies persists. Baum’s analysis of
genocide and the human psyche help address the persistence of genocide.

Baum is a University of New Mexico lecturer in psychology and a
clinical psychologist. He is a recognized expert in the psychological
aspects of anti-Semitism.

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