Discourses of Mass Violence in Comparative Perspective

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New England, USA, September 2022

In September 2022 our team has visited Boston and New England to meet with experts in the study of mass violence, to visit sites of relevance, and to examine their commemoration.

In January 2023, Vladimir Petrović presented the results of this fieldwork:

"The Road to Deer Island and Other Horrors of Southern New England"
Talk at the University of Massachusetts Boston

vlado talk deer island image talking

Troublesome aspect of early colonial experience stand out in our itinerary, which took us to multiple sites:

deer island sign            wastewater treatment 5

Deer Island, Boston Harbor, 26 September 2022
LEFT: Plaque commemorating the internment of Native Americans who had converted to Christianity, so-called
Praying Indians, by British authorities in the 1675–76 King Philip's War. Since the interned were nether provided
resources to survive the winter nor allowed to leave the island on their own accord, mortality rates were high.
RIGHT: Deer Island currently hosts a wastewater treatment plant.

images: Vladimir Petrović

20220926_163155            20220926_170036

Deer Island, Boston Harbor, 26 September 2022
Deer island is a site of many memorials. LEFT: Memorial commemorating Irish immigrants who fled the Great
Famine in Ireland and died during the quarantine in Boston Harbor imposed by US officials 1847-50. Immigrants
in quarantine had not been provided with food.
RIGHT: Private memorial of a person who died from unspecified causes.

images: Juliane Prade-Weiss

20220930_122458              UConn mit Richard Wilson

Connecticut Meetings with Ben Kiernan (Yale U), Eckart Frahm (Yale U), Richard A. Wilson (UConn)
LEFT: Ben Kiernan, A. Whitney Griswold Professor Emeritus of History; Founding Director of the Cambodian Genocide Program and the Genocide Studies Program, Professor of International & Area Studies, Yale University;
Eckart Frahm, Professor of Assyriology at the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Faculty Affiliate of the Anthropology Division for Research on Cuneiform Tablets at the Yale Peabody Museum, Yale University;
Juliane Prade-Weiss, Vladimir Petrović, Dominik Markl
RIGHT: Juliane Prade-Weiss; Dominik Markl; Richard A. Wilson, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Intellectual Life, Gladstein Chair of Human Rights and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Law and Anthropology, University of Connecticut

images: Vladimir Petrović

mit Steve Pinker 3              strassler center 29 september 2022_1

Massachusetts Meetings with Steve Pinker (Harvard U) &
at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Clark U)

LEFT: Juliane Prade-Weiss; Steve Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard U; Vladimir Petrović, Dominik Markl
RIGHT: Juliane Prade-Weiss; Nicole Toedtli, Strassler Center, Clark University; Vladimir Petrović; Sandra Grundic, Strassler Center, Clark University; Dominik Markl; not pictured: Thomas Kühne, Director, Strassler Colin Flug Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University

images: Juliane Prade-Weiss

eliot church              mural post office

Natick, Massachusetts, 02 October 2022
LEFT: The "Praying Indians" interned on Deer Island had been converted to Christianity by the Puritan John Eliot, who preached in the local Algonquian language and prepared the first translation of the Bible into s North American native language. The Eliot Church of Natick is located on the site of their meetinghouse.
RIGHT: A mural inside the local post office commemorates Eliot preaching to Native Americans.

images: Vladimir Petrović

20220930_142859 - Kopie              pequot museum

Mystic & Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Connecticut, 30 September 2022
In 1637, the Mystic massacre took place near the current town of Mystic. Connecticut colonists and Native
American allies set fire to Mystic ford, held and inhabited by the local Pequot nation. The aggressors killed
400-700 Pequot civilians and sold survivors into slavery. Culture and history of the Pequot nation, including the massacre, are represented in the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
LEFT: Plaque outlining the history of Mystic River, naming the Pequot wars »the first important conflict
between English settlers and the native populations of North America«. The reasons for its importance are
not indicated.
RIGHT: Dominik Markl; Vladimir Petrović; Connor Smith, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, discussing the aftermath of the massacre.

images: Juliane Prade-Weiss

We discussed the state of the art with multiple experts studying mass violence, among them:

  • Nir Eisikovits, UMass Boston Applied Ethics Center
  • Eckart Frahm, Yale University
  • Ben Kiernan, Yale University
  • Tomas Kuehne, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies | Clark University
  • Steven Pinker, Harvard University
  • Salem State Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies | Salem State University
  • Richard Wilson, Human Rights Institute | University of Connecticut