Perpetrator Studies Network


19 - 21 October 2022
Centre Cultural La Nau de la Universitat de València

Private Memories, Public Discourses: Perpetration of Mass Crimes and their Traces


19-21 October 2022

Centre Cultural La Nau de la Universitat de València

In the study of mass crimes and political violence, and primarily in recent decades, a greater interest has developed in the methodological questions concerning the condition of the perpetrator and the act of perpetration in all its different spheres. While the figure of the victim was established as a fundamental support for the memory of traumatic events in society from the first conflicts of the “short 20th century” (Hobsbawm, 1994), critical attention nevertheless appears to have shifted in recent years. In light of what has been called the “perpetrator’s turn”, it becomes necessary to question not only the figure of the perpetrator itself, but also the artistic and cultural productions which, in recent decades, have situated the perpetrator at the center of reflections.

Private memories of perpetrators, represented in various media such as private photo albums, vernacular photography, family films and testimonies, constitute a first approach to primary memories of perpetration. Moreover, official or institutional publications or photographs, news programs, propaganda documentaries or film or literary reconstructions of biographies all bring us closer to those institutionalized representations which sought to bear witness, according to concrete objectives, to what took place during acts of perpetration of violence. Lastly, memory practices carried our by later generations, both those developed within the private sphere of postmemory, as well as those in the institutional or museum setting, propose new readings of a violent past, which seek to resemanticize primary narrative and iconographic representations in what are clear acts of appropriation. This conference seeks to examine these traces of acts of perpetration, focusing fundamentally on the triad “spaces, testimonies, archives”: that is, on the spaces or scenes where mass crimes were carried out, the testimonies resulting from these experiences, and, lastly, the archives generated about these events.

With this fourth international conference, we intend to continue with the line of work taken up in previous editions, which stresses the comparative vision of different case studies. In this edition we want to especially stress a new dynamic and “multidirectional” (Rothberg, 2009) perspective. Therefore, we invite contributions that incorporate into the analysis those episodes of violence deriving from the transatlantic trade of enslaved peoples and colonialism, as well as new transnational and transcultural perspectives like migration from the perspective of postcolonial and decolonial studies.


The topics to be addressed at the conference are the following:

-Memory Migration: Transcultural Circulation and Reception of Mass Crimes in Literature

-Textual Memory: Literature as Archive

-Resignifying Spaces of Violence: Museumizing Memory

-The Perpetrator Archive: from the Private to Public Sphere

-Images of Perpetration in Documentary Cinema

-Artistic Practices as Spaces of Memory Convergence

-Traces of Perpetration in Archeology


In order to receive a certificate of attendance to the conference it will be necessary to register in the registration formthat has been enabled for this purpose and that you will find available in the next column of this page. Likewise, in order to receive the certificate, it will be necessary to attend 80% of the sessions.

For more information, click here.