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Representing Genocide: Media, Law and Scholarship

Date: 04/05/2013

Time: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Location: 20 Mondale Hall

Cost: Free


The symposium will address journalistic, judicial and social scientific depictions of atrocities with a focus on cases of the Holocaust, Darfur, and Rwanda. It seeks to explore the intersections between these different discursive fields and case studies to shed light on the increasing tension between the local and global representations and memories of mass murder.
The particular ways in which current genocides are represented have critical consequences for the responses and interventions offered by the rest of the world. This has been evident in both Darfur and Rwanda, where the framing of the events and the labels and definitions used by the media and scholarship to describe them (such as “tribal violence”) had a detachment effect and did not favor any sort of intervention to halt the atrocities. Reversely, references to the Holocaust in the representation of contemporary mass atrocities—so-called "metaphorical bridging"—can also crucially impact the process of intervention, as the case of Bosnia has demonstrated.
Few attempts have been made to specifically highlight the connection between representations of past mass atrocities and their actual impact on unfolding events of mass violence. An examination of this urgent question is an essential component of global progress towards human rights goals and the prevention or reduction of future political violence. Moreover, while there is an important body of work on Holocaust memory as such, our symposium will explore when and how promoting public awareness and memory of mass atrocities through distinct institutions (the media, the judiciary and academic scholarship) can lead to effective anti-genocide policies.

Free and open to the public. Reservations required, to reserve please click here.

Conference Organizers:
Joachim Savelsberg, Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota: Media and ICC Interventions in Darfur: Comparing Representations in Eight Countries
Alejandro Baer, Director and Stephen C. Feinstein Chair Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota: The Holocaust Metaphor: Memory and Representation of Atrocities in Spain and Argentina

Confirmed Speakers:
- John Hagan, John D. MacArthur Professor, Northwestern University: Conflicting Representations on Darfur in Scholarship
- Bella Mody, James de Castro Chair in Global Media Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado: Representing Darfur in the World Press
- Jens Meierhenrich, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE/Princeton University: Conflicting Representations of Darfur in the Legal Field
- Devin Pendas, Associate Professor History, Boston College: Holocaust Representation in German Postwar Trials
- Natan Sznaider, Professor of Sociology, Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo: The Ethics of Never Again: Narrating Genocide across time and place
- Allan Thompson, Assistant Professor Journalism and Communication, Carleton University: The Media and the Rwandan Genocide
- Mark Osiel, Aliber Family Chair in Law, University of Iowa
- Federico Finchelstein, Associate Professor of History at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College

The Symposium is made possible by the Wexler Special Events fund for Holocaust and Genocide studies.



  • Name: Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
  • E-mail: chgs@umn.edu
  • Sponsored by: Global Studies, Austrian Studies, German and European Studies Center, Human Rights Program, European Studies Consortium, Journalism and Mass Communication, Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, Human Rights Center at the Law School, Sociology, German, Scandinavian & Dutch, Spanish & Portuguese, Jewish Studies, Holocaust & Genocide Studies

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at 612-624-9007.

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