Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Heather Ferguson

Reader 2

Jon Shields

Rights Information

© 2020 Laleh Ahmad


This thesis seeks to understand motivations for collective violence beyond the traditional explanations of ethnic hatred or racism. Often, historical scholarship focuses on ethnic hatred and racism, and elaborates on the processes by which those notions and hatreds came to be. Scholarship in the political science realm often gets past the hatred hypothesis but does not explore historical myths and legacy formation as they contribute to past and current violence. This thesis employs a case study approach to understand collective violence that is global and takes multiple cultures and religions into account. The case studies were chosen thematically, and each case study had personal relevance, and elucidated concerns of ethical remembrance and memorialization particularly well. It employs the power/threat and political elite framework as the primary motivator of collective violence and seeks to explore the historical myths that led to past violence and how the legacies of those events are causing current conflict.