California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Author of the Month: Dale Tatum

Published: September 15, 2010

Genocide at the Dawn of the 21st Century: Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and Darfur

Dale Tatum, lecturer, Africana Studies

Genocide at the Dawn of the 21st Century: Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and Darfur arrived this year from Palgrave Macmillan with its review of political reactions to repeated outbreaks of mass murder. At the end of World War II, the international community deemed genocide as a crime against humanity. Yet Tatum, a member of the university since 2006, explains why genocide began to happen in the 21st century and the United States has been ineffective at preventing it. “While all this politicking has gone on,” he said, people’s lives have been lost. Very often, nothing is done.” The creation of Tatum’s second book (the first was 2002’s Who Influenced Whom: Lessons from the Cold War) was rooted in a sense of frustration when there was little public awareness of genocide despite graphic pictures and stories that began to appear in the world media. “I felt the whole issue was being avoided,” he said. “People did not seem to pay attention.” One of the goals of his new book is to raise public awareness of genocide. “One way I want this book to raise awareness of genocide as a world issue is by looking at such institutional failures as the failure of schools to empower their students by making them aware of such issues. Today’s students need to be aware they can influence foreign policy. Americans think domestically. If there is unemployment or inflation, we rally to put pressure on the government. But with respect to foreign policy issues, very often, Americans don’t do anything because they are not aware. I feel American schools could do a better job of making their students aware. I hope books like this help students realize they can make a difference with respect to foreign policy.” Tatum has an A.B. in political science from UC Berkeley and an A.M. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan, the latter of which he received in 1990. Tatum hopes his new book helps to make Americans more aware of the world around them. “People can empower themselves,” he said. “They have the ability to change things. If the American people want change, they must be the initiators.”

Author of the Month