Perpetrator Studies Network

Double Exposures: Perpetrators and the Uses of Photography, Mechelen, January 2018

Double Exposures: Perpetrators and the Uses of Photography

Kazerne Dossin Memorial, Mechelen, Belgium, 11-13 January 2018



Christophe Busch, Kazerne Dossin Memorial, Mechelen, Belgium

Stefan Hördler, Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial,  Nordhausen, Germany

Hans-Christian Jasch, Haus der Wannseekonferenz, Berlin, Germany

Susanne C. Knittel, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Uğur Ümit Üngör, Utrecht University and NIOD Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Keynote Speakers:

Ulrike Weckel ( Justus Liebig University, Gießen, Germany)

Paul Lowe (University of the Arts, London, United Kingdom)


In addition to eyewitness accounts and written texts or documents, photography serves as a key medium through which acts of perpetration become known. Photographic images of perpetrators and their acts are produced for different purposes (documentation, evidence, self-promotion, propaganda, etc.) and come to us from different sources (journalists, victims, the perpetrators themselves, documents, archives, government agencies, etc.). But they all contribute to shaping the way that we see and think about perpetrators and perpetration: the historical and cultural imaginary is saturated with images, some of which acquire iconic status. While photographs undeniably play a crucial role in raising awareness about atrocities and other forms of mass violence, their omnipresence can on the one hand feed fascination and voyeurism, and on the other hand lead to decontextualization, desensitization, and trivialization. This means that perpetrator studies must think very carefully and critically about how photography is used, not only in the media but also in academic scholarship, at sites of memory, and in educational practice.

This conference aims to consider the past, present, and future uses of photography of and by perpetrators of mass violence, genocide, and other forms of political violence. We invite contributions from scholars working in the fields of history, sociology, anthropology, political science, literary and cultural studies, media studies, philosophy, law, criminology, religious studies, etc. as well as curators, educators, journalists, and other practitioners whose work intersects with the question of perpetration and the uses of photography. We will explore the questions and problems that arise in the context of photography of/by perpetrators in the media, public discourse, in cultural representations, at sites of memory, as well as in education and academic scholarship.

For more information and the conference program click here.