Victims, Perpetrators, Bystanders and Collaborators as historical concepts: Redundant labels, useful categorisations or somewhere in between?
19th June 2018, Grimond Building, University of Kent, Canterbury
There’s a big fashion for categorising bystanders, perpetrators and so on, why? Everyone collaborated!
– Interview with a Holocaust survivor, January 2018
The twentieth century saw the concepts ‘victims’, ‘perpetrators’, ‘bystanders’ and ‘collaborators’ entering not only historical study but public discourse surrounding instances of war, atrocity and genocide. However, these terms also have a broader application outside of the twentieth century, in contexts of earlier imperialism, religious iconography and revolution. Despite this near universal application, there has been surprisingly little critical evaluation of the conceptual utility of the aforementioned terms amongst scholars. Problems associated with the dearth of engagement in our understanding and usage of these words include reductionist tendencies that can obscure nuance and disregard the experiences of individuals whose stories are not so easily classified. This conference aims to provide a forum for postgraduate students and early career researchers to begin to facilitate vital discussion as to the future of these often problematic concepts.
Applications are sought from postgraduates and early career scholars, focusing on the following themes relating to the application of these terms within different historical contexts, including, but certainly not limited to:
- Gendered connotations
- Public memory, commemoration and the mass media
- Imagery and visual culture
- Occupations during wartime
- Everyday violence
- Law, courts and society
- Revolutionary mentalities and culture
Submissions with an interdisciplinary approach are particularly encouraged.
Please send a 250 word abstract for a 20-30 minute paper and a brief biographical statement to Kate Docking and Ellis Spicer via firstname.lastname@example.org by 16th March 2018.
Keynote Speaker: Professor Tim Cole, University of Bristol