Under Nazi rule, and particularly during the Holocaust, many individua institutions and groups became complicit in processes of discrimination, exclusion, and, eventually, genocide. Yet few felt that their behaviour undermined their own identity as ‘decent’ people; or, when they did register a sense of disquiet, they found means of justifying their actions to themselves and others.
Collective, state-sponsored violence has continued to occur across the world. We ask what broader insights of continuing relevance can be drawn from exploring questions around identity and involvement in collective violence under Nazi rule.
This conference will focus on the following areas of inquiry:
• When does compromise turn into complicity, or even involvement in acts of perpetration? How does this process affect identity and action?
• To what extent does involvement in acts of perpetration or support of a violent system make individuals feel they have compromised their own identity, and how do they deal with this, both at the time and later?
• How helpful are the concepts of compromise, complicity and identity in understanding institutions and societies as they become implicated in violence and subsequently confront past involvement in violence?
• How do we as scholars and researchers relate to the subjects of our inquiry? How do we make decisions about selection of material and ways of representing a violent past, whether in words or images, and how do we relate to contemporary audiences?
We invite proposals for papers from a variety of disciplinary and comparative perspectives that promise to offer new substantive insights and/or innovative theoretical approaches to issues of complicity and perpetration, whether historical or contemporary. Applications from both established scholars and scholars at the start of their careers are welcome.
The conference will be held virtually by Zoom on 6-7 May 2021, and will entail discussion of pre-circulated papers of c. 6,000 – 8,000 words in length. To allow time for careful reading prior to the conference, papers will need to be submitted for pre-circulation by 19 April 2021.
Proposals for papers should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrive no later than 12 noon GMT on 14 December 2020.
Decisions about acceptance of papers will be communicated by 21 December 2020.
Proposals should be no more than 500 words in length, and should include details of the research questions addressed and the material to be discussed. Please also include a brief (max 100 word) biography outlining current and past positions and key publications.
The conference is part of an AHRC-sponsored collaborative research project on Compromised Identities? Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism.
See further: https://compromised-identities.org/
Prof. Mary Fulbrook, Prof. Stephanie Bird, Dr Stefanie Rauch, Dr Bastiaan Willems
Dr Stefanie Rauch