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Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies


11 February 2021
Online Event

Book Launch Series: New Books in Perpetrator Studies

  • First Event: February 11, 2021, 16.00 CET, Online

The Perpetrator Studies Network is happy to announce a series of online book launches that will introduce recent publications in the field and bring authors into conversation with researchers from other disciplines. The aim is to foster dialogue, across disciplines, on key issues currently discussed in perpetrator studies (issues concerning, for example, methodology, theory, ethics, representation, etc.), to explore the conditions which enable acts of collective (and) political violence, as well as to engage critically with the very concept of “perpetrator” or “perpetration”.

Why do people participate in genocide and what motivates them? What are the specific methodological and ethical challenges that pertain to the study of perpetrators and perpetration of mass violence? How do veterans navigate unstable and sometimes dangerous social and political environments during and after war? How do individuals standing trial for mass atrocities think about the question of justice? And in how far do (documentary) films about perpetrators or about encounters between survivors and perpetrators expand the ‘testimony model’ and suggest a new documentary ethics?

These and other questions will be central to the series this spring. The first book launch will present The Complexity of Evil. Perpetration and Genocide by Timothy Williams (Rutgers UP, 2021) and will take place on February 11 at 16.00 (CET; 10.00 EST). The book focuses on perpetrators’ motivations for participation in genocide and includes original data from fieldwork with Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The event will be moderated by Carse Ramos and the author will discuss the book with Scott Straus and Alette Smeulers. For the second launch, on March 11 at 16.00 (CET; 10.00 EST) we will welcome Erin Jessee and Kjell Anderson to discuss their edited volume Researching Perpetrators of Genocide (Wisconsin UP, 2020), which deals with methodological and ethical issues surrounding perpetrator research. 

The series continues on April 8 at 15.30 (CET) with New Directions in Ethnography and Violence – the launch of Nikkie Wiegink’s Former Guerrillas in Mozambique (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020) and Eva van Roekel’s Phenomenal Justice. Violence and Morality in Argentina (Rutgers UP, 2020). We conclude on May 13 at 16.00 (CET) with a presentation by Raya Morag on Perpetrator Cinema: Confronting Genocide in Cambodian Documentary (Columbia UP, 2020).

Registration link for the book launch of Complexity of Evil. Perpetration and Genocide by Timothy Williams (11 February 2021): 

Registration link for the book launch of Researching Perpetrators of Genocide, edited by Kjell Anderson and Erin Jessee (11 March 2021):

 The series is organized by Timothy Williams and Susanne Knittel.