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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter attempts to depict in broad brushstrokes the development of the term ‘cultural genocide’, its connection to the term ‘genocide’, and what this can teach us about the relationship between law and history. The puzzle that the crime of genocide posits, in a nutshell, is this: how is it that a crime that was originally designed to deal with a new historical occurrence—a systemic attempt to completely erase a cultural group—turned from an encompassing concept of genocide to one limited to its physical and biological aspects? How was the cultural essence of genocide reduced to attack on ‘cultural heritage’ and then detached from the international crime of genocide and relegated to human rights and minority law under the control of nation-states?

Keywords: legal history, cultural genocide, law, cultural heritage, cultural groups

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