Perpetrator Studies Network


CfP: Reflections on Researching Perpetrators of Genocide

Special Issue of JPR: Journal of Perpetrator Research

Deadline for abstracts: July 31, 2022

Editors: Kjell Anderson (University of Manitoba) & Erin Jessee (University of Glasgow)

There is a burgeoning literature on perpetrators of mass atrocities in the social sciences, humanities, and law. Yet, little of this research addresses the methodological challenges of doing research on and with perpetrators, despite widespread recognition of the heightened challenges that this research can entail. These centre on the contentiousness of the term ‘genocide’ in different contexts and the social stigma endured by people who come to be identified as perpetrators, but also extend to the need to negotiate access with gatekeepers and other interlocutors, establish ‘trust’ within the interview and other research activities, and the potential dangers of publishing research that contradicts hegemonic narratives.

The edited collection, Researching Perpetrators of Genocide (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2020), brought together a small interdisciplinary community of scholars to begin a conversation on these methodological dilemmas, while recognizing that “much more can and should be discussed”. In the last chapter of the book – “Towards a Code of Practice for Qualitative Research Among Perpetrators” – we posit that “we can learn much from perpetrators if we approach research thoughtfully, openly, and diligently” but also that “researchers of perpetrators can and should be much more transparent” about the methodological and ethical challenges they encounter.

To advance this conversation, we are now inviting contributions that respond to and build on some of the key challenges raised in this edited volume. We are particularly interested in papers that:

1. Raise methodological challenges that have been overlooked in Researching Perpetrators of Genocide or expand upon points raised by the contributors; and

2. Engage the ethical and methodological dilemmas involved in conducting qualitative research with perpetrators in contexts not yet covered in the volume.

Submissions may include full journal articles (6,000-10,000 words, including endnotes) or take the form of shorter, more reflective, fieldnote pieces (3,000-5,000 words). Please send your 500-word abstract and a short 3-4 sentence biographical statement to: and by 31 July 2022. Authors will be contacted in mid-August to inform them whether they are being invited to submit a full draft, with successful authors working toward a November 2022 deadline for submitting draft contributions for peer review. Positively reviewed contributions will be published in a Fall 2023 special issue of the Journal of Perpetrator Research.