Hosted by the Humanities Research Institute, this year’s lecture at the University of Regina (Education Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.) is being delivered by Indiana University professor Mark Roseman. An expert on recent Jewish and modern German history, Roseman’s talk is titled: Making Sense of Mass Murder: Holocaust Perpetrators in Perspective.

Mass murder comes in many different forms, I suppose. There’s serial killers, terrorists, people who commit multiple homocides in a short period as with a school shooting. Judging from the title of his talk, Roseman intends to focus on state-sanctioned acts of mass murder.

The Holocaust is probably the most notorious example, at least in recent history. But in the 20th century alone there’s been numerous other state-sponsored genocides. Some that come to mind include the Ottoman Empire’s attack on ethnic Armenians in the latter stages of WWI; Soviet purges of Ukrainian nationals in the inter-war period; Mao’s campaign to suppress counterrevolutionaries following the 1948 Communist Revolution in China; the Khmer Rouge’s massacre of millions of Cambodians in the 1960s; the Rwandan genocide in the mid-90s; and ethnic cleansing that occurred during the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the same decade.

Realistically, I don’t think you can ever make sense of mass murder. At least to the extent of justifying or rationalizing it. That’s not Roseman’s intention, of course. Rather, I suspect he’s interested in delving into the darker side of the human psyche and determining what it is that drives large collectives of people, whether through active or tacit means, to commit such heinous atrocities.

Should be an enlightening, albeit disturbing, evening. 

Musicwise, Foam Lake is at O’Hanlon’s Pub (the band, not the town) with Shulyer Jansen and poet Patrick Swan in support. And earlier at the Club, The Maddigans are playing with Everyone Everywhere and So Next Week backing them up.