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Bloxham, Donald

Bloxham, Donald

PERSONAL:

Education: Graduated from Keele University and Southampton University. Holds a B.A., Ph.D., and FR.Hist.S.

ADDRESSES:

Office—School of History, Classics and Archaeology, William Robertson Bldg., 50 George Sq., University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9JY, Scotland. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Author, editor, genocide scholar, and professor. Holocaust Educational Trust, London, England, research director; University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, lecturer, 2002-06, reader, 2006-07, professor, 2007—. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence, 2007-08.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Philip Leverhulme Prize, 2006; Edinburgh University Chancellor's Award, 2007; Raphael Lemkin Award, International Association of Genocide Scholars, 2007, for The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians.

WRITINGS:

Genocide on Trial: War Crimes Trials and the Formation of Holocaust History and Memory, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

(Editor, with Ben Flanagan) Remembering Belsen: Eyewitnesses Record the Liberation, Vallentine Mitchell (Portland, OR), 2005.

The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Tony Kushner) The Holocaust: Critical Historical Approaches, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Genocide, the World Wars and the Unweaving of Europe, Vallentine Mitchell (Portland, OR), 2008.

Contributor to books, including Der Völkermord an den Armeniern und die Shoah, 2002; The Memory of Catastrophe, 2004; and Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, February 1945, 2005. Contributor to periodicals, including European History Quarterly, Journal of British Studies, and History. "Zones of Violence," ten volumes., Oxford University Press, series editor; Journal of Holocaust Education, former editor. Has served on the editorial board for Holocaust Studies, Patterns of Prejudice, Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung, and the Journal of Genocide Research.

SIDELIGHTS:

Donald Bloxham is the author or editor of several books on genocide. Given his area of expertise, he has worked at the Holocaust Educational Trust as a research director, and at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence. His first full-length publication, Genocide on Trial: War Crimes Trials and the Formation of Holocaust History and Memory, was released in 2001. The book examines how the famous Nuremberg trials and other such war crime tribunals shaped the perception and understanding of the Holocaust. Specifically, Bloxham examines how the United States and Britain were able to use these trials as a means of shaping history (an active example of the old adage that "history is written by the victor"). However, Genocide on Trial argues that this aim was not met, and instead the study of the Holocaust was ill-served by the evidence presented in the war crimes trials. Bloxham blames the sensationalized images of Holocaust survivors as skewing perception of the camps and their various functions. For instance, while some of the Nazi detainment centers were indeed concentration camps, others were not. Yet, the sweeping generalizations of the war trials did not accommodate such differentiation, a task that was later left to scholars. Michael J. Hoffman, writing on H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, observed that "Bloxham's archival research is excellent. He has examined not only the extensive trial records but also those documents held in both British and American archives that have been made available to scholars." Indeed, Hoffman was impressed by the book, remarking that "Bloxham's detailed discussions of trials other than those of the International Military Tribunal are woven well into the context of his argument." All in all, Hoffman concluded that "this is the kind of book that, because of its range of reference, will give rise to other studies that analyze specific elements of Genocide on Trial at greater length. The book contains an interesting blend of analysis and historical representation." Because of this, Hoffman found that "all Holocaust scholars interested in both the postwar trials and Holocaust historiography will find this book stimulating and useful."

Bloxham's next book, Remembering Belsen: Eyewitnesses Record the Liberation, which he edited with Ben Flanagan, was published in 2005. The book is a compilation of letters, autobiographies, first-person accounts, and primary-source documents, all of which discuss the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen. After the liberation, the camp was transformed into a refugee camp, and the selections also discuss this aspect of the camp's history. Also in 2005, the same year that Remembering Belsen was released, Bloxham published The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians. Divided into three parts, the book begins with a discussion of the genocide of Ottoman Armenians from 1915 to 1923. Rather than trace the history of the genocide itself, Bloxham examines the worldwide reaction and response to the genocide. This overview takes readers from the lead-up to the killings to international actions made on account of it, and then to the Turkish Republic's attempted cover-ups of the genocide. The author additionally shows how the United States was complicit in that cover-up, and also argues that Germany's perceived involvement in the mass extermination of Armenians was less active than previously thought.

Yucel Guclu, writing in the Middle East Quarterly, noted that the content of The Great Game of Genocide "is both broader and narrower than the title might suggest…. The parts are broader in dealing not only with Armenians but also with Greeks, Kurds, and Assyrians. They are narrower in focusing mainly on the years 1915-23, thereby treating only superficially the period before World War I." Overall, Guclu found that the book is a "bold enterprise" that "comprises certain valuable inquiry," and concluded, "Bloxham's book might stimulate further research on the Armenian issue, in particular, and on genocide analysis in general—a welcome development, as there is dire need for objective and rational analyses of these difficult subjects." Edward J. Erickson, writing in the Middle East Journal, stated that the book "is a uniquely important contribution to a bitterly divided field of historical inquiry, and it is certain to generate controversy in and of itself." Indeed, Erickson concluded his review of the book by stating that "Bloxham's critical analysis and iconoclastic contentions make this a very important book and, with the events in Darfur, Sudan, as a contemporary background canvas, a very timely one as well. I highly recommend The Great Game of Genocide to both scholars and readers interested in the destruction of the Armenians."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, February 1, 2004, Eric D. Weitz, review of Genocide on Trial: War Crimes Trials and the Formation of Holocaust History and Memory, p. 156; June 1, 2006, Robert Melson, review of The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians, p. 931.

Central European History, January 1, 2003, review of Genocide on Trial, p. 496; June 22, 2003, Robert G. Moeller, review of Genocide on Trial.

Choice, December 1, 2005, V.D. Barooshian, review of The Great Game of Genocide, p. 722; February 1, 2006, B. Kraut, review of The Holocaust: Critical Historical Approaches, p. 1081.

English Historical Review, September 1, 2007, Christian Goeschel, review of The Holocaust, p. 1111.

European History Quarterly, January 1, 2008, Jay Winter, review of The Great Game of Genocide, p. 126.

Foreign Affairs, May/June, 2006, L. Carl Brown, review of The Great Game of Genocide.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Volume 21, number 2, Norman M. Naimark, review of The Great Game of Genocide.

Insight Turkey, January 1, 2007, Yucel Guclu, review of The Great Game of Genocide, p. 157.

International and Comparative Law Quarterly, January 1, 2005, M.A. Sanderson, review of Genocide on Trial, p. 265.

Journal of Modern History, December 1, 2003, Donald L. Niewyk, review of Genocide on Trial, p. 1000.

Middle East Journal, January 1, 2006, Edward J. Erickson, review of The Great Game of Genocide, p. 162.

Middle East Quarterly, March 22, 2006, Yucel Guclu, "Mislabeling Genocide?," p. 67.

Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2005, review of Remembering Belsen: Eyewitnesses Record the Liberation, p. 33.

Rethinking History, September 22, 2004, Patrick Finney, review of Genocide on Trial, p. 485.

Times Higher Education Supplement, September 22, 2006, "Slain on Altar of National Fervour," p. 22.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://h-net.org/ (February 1, 2006), Michael J. Hoffman, review of Genocide on Trial.

University of Edinburgh Web site,http://www.shc.ed.ac.uk/ (August 21, 2008), author profile and autobiography.

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