Speakers at the Encountering perpetrators of mass killings, political violence and genocide conference confronted difficult questions about those who commit such acts, exploring this emotive theme through a variety of channels including literature, film, museums, education, criminal trials and the media.
“The inspiration for the conference lay in the awareness that the twentieth and twenty-first centuries bore witness to mass killings, political violence and genocide,” said Dr Emiliano Perra, Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Winchester, who co-organised the conference with Dr Kara Critchell, Research Assistant in History at the University of Sussex. “As we move into the new millennium, the people who have orchestrated and participated in such acts remain figures of fascination and of revulsion in Western society.
“Yet despite this enduring fascination, and the importance of understanding the dynamics of violence, there has been reluctance in the public sphere and in education to address the complexities of engaging with or representing these perpetrators.”
Attendees – from 22 countries spanning 6 continents – were addressed by 74 speakers including noted historian and genocide studies expert Professor Donald Bloxham from the University of Edinburgh. His keynote address asked whether there is a societal need to justify the study of the perpetrators of such crimes.
“Many scholars from different disciplines are studying this difficult topic of perpetrators, but until now there has been no forum for them to share ideas and discuss their research,” added Dr Perra. “Through this interdisciplinary conference we hoped to provide an opportunity for scholars and educators to exchange ideas, and it’s been tremendously successful. In the end, understanding the perpetrators of genocide, mass killings and political violence is essential in order to prevent the occurrence of future crimes.”
A print-ready image of (L-R) Dr Emiliano Perra, Professor Donald Bloxham and Dr Kara Critchell is available to download by clicking here