Denial has been termed the “final stage of genocide.” The “assassins of memory,” in Pierre Vidal-Naquet’s memorable turn of phrase, seek to bury their crimes or to legitimize or governments or political movements with which they sympathize. The ways in which portrayals of genocide are constructed may contribute to creating “zones of denial” that allow space for minimizing the harsh realities of genocide in our collective understanding. For victims and their descendants, denial brings additional injustice and trauma.
In April 2019, our Center for Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Studies will host its first in a series of annual conferences. “Denial: The Final Stage of Genocide” will attract scholars and activists from around the world and will examine a multitude of issues, such as:
- Use of denialist strategies by contemporary political movements
- Effects of denial upon survivor groups and/or upon perpetrator societies
- Reconciliation and transitional justice in post-genocidal societies in relation to education and denial
- Feminist perspectives and gendered analyses in relation to denial
- Denial or other forms of falsification in relation to indigenous peoples’ experiences
- Post-colonial theories and practices in relation to issues of denial or confronting denial
- Minimization or erasure of racist and colonial histories in Europe, the United States, or elsewhere
- Appropriation and/or exploitation of the Holocaust and or other genocides
- Art, literature, and film confronting (or promoting) denial
The conference’s keynote speaker will be Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, hIstorian of the Modern Middle East at MIT and author of Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2016).