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Crime Scenes and Sites of Memory

  • October 31st, 2019

Second International Congress on Perpetrators of mass violence. (12-15 November, 2019)

Mass crimes, acts of genocide and political violence have a "metaphysical" dimension against human beings. However, whatever their conceptual scope, they are concrete acts that occur in precise places, take place in a unique time and their material actors are, in the end, ordinary people. Reconstructing the scenes that result from these acts means returning the actions the immediacy and even the banality they had at the time of their exercise. Now, once the facts are reconstructed, these same scenarios acquire a new symbolic and cultural condition, they are resemantized in diverse social spheres: in the criminal processes that reconstruct them, in the memory of victims, executioners and witnesses, in the visual and written archives that describe them and in artistic, literary and cinematographic recreation.

The congress “Escenas del Crimen y Lugares de Memoria (Crime Scenes and Sites of Memory) tries to interrogate the tension produced by the double dimension in the time of crime scene: the present of the act and its commemorative future.  Following the line of work initiated in the congress “El infierno de los perpetradores” (The Hell of the Perpetrators) on November 2017, and within the research project «Representaciones contemporáneas del perpetrador de violencias de masa: conceptos, relatos e imágenes» (Contemporary representations of the perpetrator of mass violence: concepts, stories and images) of Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities the [HAR2017-83519-P], we suggest a comparative analysis of cases, in order to achieve a better understanding of the “styles” of each era, as well as the modeling power of the most recognized and early examples (in particular, the Holocaust). The address to these issues is posed from the perspective of the study of those who perpetrated the criminal acts, without losing sight of the consideration of all the actors involved in the scene.

 

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