The displaced and dispossessed of Darfur: Explaining the sources of a continuing state-led genocide

John L Hagan*, Joshua Kaiser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The millions of survivors who fled from attacks to Sudanese-controlled displacement camps and the refugee camps in Chad are the living ghosts of the Darfur genocide. The 1948 Genocide Convention incorporates extermination by mass killing and elimination through forced migration as two distinct elements of genocide. Genocide scholars and public discourse emphasize extermination by killing, but they give far less explanatory attention to the elimination processes that the Genocide Convention describes as 'deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction'. (Article II United Nations 1948.) In Darfur, understanding the latter processes requires theoretical attention to the history of food, water, and famine and detailed methodological attention to temporal processes of displacement. We demonstrate how intentional state-led attacks on food and water massively dislodged Black Africans in Darfur from February 2003 to August 2004. The political leadership of the Sudanese state dehumanized and forcibly displaced Black Africans from their homes in Darfur to camps where they largely remain, not only through mass killings and rapes, but also by destroying life-sustaining access to food and water, leading to the genocidal elimination of group life in this region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


  • Displacement
  • Elimination
  • Extermination
  • Genocide
  • Migration
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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