Perpetrator Studies Network

Representing Perpetrators, Utrecht, September 2016

Representing Perpetrators of Mass Violence

Utrecht University, 31 August–3 September, 2016

Susanne C. Knittel, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University
Uğur Ümit Üngör, Associate Professor of History at Utrecht University and Research Fellow at the Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies (NIOD) in Amsterdam

Keynote speakers:
Prof. Scott Straus (U Wisconsin, Madison)
Milo Rau, International Institute of Political Murder (

Many recent films, novels, and television series dealing with perpetrators of mass violence and genocide question the simplistic dichotomy of good versus evil. At the same time, in public discourse and the media such binaries often persist, particularly in the context of the “war on terror” and in the popular memory of the Holocaust and other major atrocities of the recent past. In both cases, the question of representation is of central importance.
This conference aims to explore the questions and problems that arise in the context of the representation of perpetrators in the media, public discourse, in cultural representations, as well as in education and academic scholarship. The conference title refers to all forms of representation, including but not limited to self-representation (in social media, auto-documents, interviews, testimonies), representation in the news and the media, fictional representation (in literature, film, and the arts), legal representation (either contemporary or historically), representation in the accounts and testimonies of their victims and survivors, and representation in academic scholarship of various disciplines (including history, sociology, anthropology, political science, literary and cultural studies, media studies, philosophy, law, criminology, religious studies, etc.).