Criminology Workshop – Mass Violence and the Corpse

CALL FOR PAPERS

“TOWARDS A CRIMINOLOGY OF MASS VIOLENCE AND THE CORPSE:
A  EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE”

A WORKSHOP TO BE HELD AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER ON 6th & 7th NOVEMBER 2014

Organiser: Jon Shute, University of Manchester, Co-investigator of the ERC Programme, ‘Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide

SUMMARY: Criminology emerged in the 19th Century as a Europe-wide technology of enquiry into crime and its control. Despite this, European criminologists have only very recently begun to confront the mass atrocities committed on continental soil and in the name of the imperial/ideological ambitions of member states. This workshop aims to contribute to the development of a European criminology of mass violence and genocide. The workshop will be multidisciplinary, and bring together scholars from a range of disciplines as well as from forensic practice.

RATIONALE: This workshop arises from three central paradoxes. First, since the Early Modern Period, Europe has witnessed a general decline in the prevalence and acceptability of ‘peacetime violence’ as meted out by private citizens and sovereign power, but at the same time witnessed periodic and recurrent cataclysmic violence in the form of intra- and inter-state war, and repressive totalitarian regimes. Second, these manifestations of mass violence have as one of their principle products, the corpse, yet despite the remains of tens – perhaps hundreds – of millions of victims littering the continent, little systematic study has been made of their fate. Third, despite the fact that many of these bodies will have been produced as a result of what we would now term mass crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide – there has been little substantive criminological engagement with those crimes, and virtually no engagement whatsoever with the human remains of victims.

Building on the interdisciplinary ERC Programme ‘Corpse of Mass Violence & Genocide’, this workshop proposes to begin to solve these paradoxes by advancing the criminological study of mass violence and the corpse. Bringing together leading European scholars of crime and punishment whose work touches on mass violence, together with experienced practitioners of forensic archaeology and humanitarian emergency response, the workshop has four principle aims: (i) to contextualise the area by analysing trends in the prevalence and nature of European mass violence and corpse disposal; (ii) to understand the socio-legal status and forensic value of cadavers, together with their potential criminological value; (iii) to describe theory and methods that can make sense of the treatment and distribution of dead bodies by perpetrators; and (iv) to understand the links between the legal/professional handling of corpses in peacetime and the illegal handling of them in times of conflict. In so doing, we hope to lay some of the foundations for theoretical, methodological and practical engagement with the subject matter, better understand how societies do and do not come to terms with a legacy of mass violence, and assist in the important project of reascribing value to radically devalued lives.

Proposals must be no longer than 1500 words, accompanied by a detailed biography and should be sent in English by 30 April 2014 to l.radford@corpsesofmassviolence.eu. Notification of proposal acceptance will be sent around 31st May 2014. Final papers should be sent no later than 6 November 2014 and will be included in either a planned edited volume with Manchester University Press (part of the Human Remains and Violence series), or, possibly, a journal special issue. Funds are available to cover transport or accommodation costs for delegates delivering papers. The conference will be conducted in English.

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