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Call for Submissions – Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal

IMAGES AND COLLECTIVE VIOLENCE: FUNCTION, USE AND MEMORY

Since its inception, the field of genocide studies has been characterized by its interdisciplinarity. In recent years, research has not only focused on clarifying and understanding genocidal processes from diverse perspectives such as history, sociology, philosophy, and law, but also on visual representations of mass violence. Photography, cinema (fiction as well as documentary), video, television, installations, and websites, to name but a few examples, have been studied in reflections of genocide and collective violence.

Although images are useful for the study of processes of collective violence, they are nonetheless often ambiguous or even opaque in meaning. Firstly, visual productions are valuable objects of research to analyze how ideologies of génocidaires engender hatred and create conditions conducive to the commission of mass violence by constructing perceived “enemy” groups through propaganda. Secondly, during processes of extermination themselves, images may be produced, by a variety of actors (perpetrators, witnesses or even victims), raising questions of how to take into consideration the pragmatic conditions in the production of images. Finally, post facto, another series of images allows us to at least partially reconstruct what happened.

In all these cases, visual texts quite often become sources of controversy, while also interacting with other forms of information and evidence, such as documents. Images particularly may undergo social reconfiguration in the aftermath of genocide as they are reinterpreted by successive generations. In this context, visual analysis enables us to pose a series of important questions concerning the relationship between past and present, history and memory, fact and testimony, and in relation to the construction of memory, justice and truth. Finally, all these questions point to the cliché of unrepresentability or, to be more precise, the limits of representation in relation to extreme violence.

Genocide Studies and Prevention (GSP) invites submissions exploring how visual imagery operates to shape understandings of collective violence for a planned Special Issue. In particular, GSP welcomes submissions on the following topics:

• Images taken by perpetrators, liberators and witnesses (bystanders)
• The archival process
• Forensic images
• Representations of victims and perpetrators
• The public and the private
• Generations
• Comparative Approaches

Submissions must be received by 31 July 2017.

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