Discourses of Mass Violence in Comparative Perspective

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Book Launch: Eva Maria Altmann, Das Unsagbare Verschweigen

at the Perpetrator Studies Network, Utrecht University

response by Juliane Prade-Weiss

31 March 2022, 17:00 CET, via zoom

view recording on the PSN book launch youtube channel


Perpetrators are everywhere in contemporary popular culture — and in scholarship. This omnipresence of perpetrator representations calls for critical reflection, particularly in cases where they invite identification. A paradigmatic case of this ambivalent trend is the recent proliferation of Holocaust literature told from the perpetrators’ perspective.

In this book, Altmann develops an interdisciplinary model of close textual analysis that pays careful attention to perpetrator rhetoric, the role of empathy and sympathy in perpetrator representation, and to how literary devices such as unreliable narration allow for an immanent deconstruction of perpetrator discourse.

The event will be moderated by Susanne Knittel.

The book is written in German, but the presentation and discussion will take place in English.