Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

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  • Woman and man speak
  • Three men speaking
  • Two Women Listen to Yehuda Bauer
  • Man Listens to Natalya Lazar
  • Group of Graduate Students


Dear Participant, I am pleased to welcome you on behalf of the Strassler Center and Clark University to the Holding Accountability Accountable Conference. A very generous grant from the Charles E. Scheidt Family Foundation has enabled us to put together a remarkable program with more than thirty participants from fifteen countries. The presenters, who are at the early stages of their careers, come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. As an anthropologist who researches mass violence in Southeast Asia, I appreciate the range of disciplinary and regional perspectives offered throughout the program. We anticipate lively conversations about accountability as a theoretical concept, methodological concern, moral principle, legal demand, and form of ethical engagement with the past. Andrea Gualde will deliver the keynote lecture. She is the Senior Advisor for Latin America at the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and a Professor of International Jurisdictions at Di Tella University in Buenos Aires.  Previously, she was National Director of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat of Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice, Argentina. During the second featured event, eminent journalist and author David Rieff, will discuss his most recent book, In Praise of Forgetting: The Irony of Historical Memory. The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is the first and only institute of its kind. Home to a uniquely rich undergraduate program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the world’s first doctoral program in Holocaust History and Genocide Studies, the Center is proud to be at the leading edge of the emerging field of genocide studies. Our mandate is to provide graduate level education about the antecedent causes for genocides around the globe, the experiences of different victim groups, and possibilities for political resolution and humanitarian involvement. Thank you for contributing your expertise to the success of this event. Ken MacLean Associate Professor of International Development and Social Change Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Core Faculty Member

Call for Papers

Emerging Expertise Conference: Holding Accountability Accountable
The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Clark University)
6-9 April 2017

The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies invites early career academics (advanced doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, assistant professors) and practitioners with no more than seven years of professional experience to submit abstracts in application to participate in our conference for emerging experts, “Holding Accountability Accountable.” Andrea Gualde, the former National Director of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat of Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice (Argentina), will be the keynote speaker. David Rieff, the author of In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies, will give a talk based on his book and facilitate a discussion afterwards.

The Conference will be held at Clark University in Worcester, MA (USA), 6-9 April 2017. The Strassler Center will cover transportation, food, and lodging costs for people selected to participate in the conference.

The Strassler Center’s conference, “Emerging Expertise: Holding Accountability Accountable,” will put a diverse array of scholars (e.g. historians, political scientists, and anthropologists), lawyers, policymakers, and NGO staff working on issues germane to the aftermath of mass violence into conversation with one another in order to generate novel ideas about past cases and contemporary ones. Analytically-focused reports “from the field” are welcome.

We will variously explore “accountability” as a theoretical concept, methodological concern, moral principle, legal demand, and form of ethical engagement. Such exploration is needed, as “accountability” is an empty signifier, which permits a wide array of actors to define the term in ways that advance their competing agendas. The conference thus offers a platform for us to tease apart how this process of instrumentalization unfolded/unfolds in different settings, and how our own analyses of this process are shaped by the intellectual traditions in which we were trained.

What research methods, for example, capture the dynamism and diversity of these different facets of “accountability”? How can we more effectively convey these facets to multiple audiences (e.g. affected populations, policy makers, academics, lawyers, civil society organizations, and the general public)? How did/does agency function in contexts of mass violence where definitions of moral action not only conflict with, but also configure, what “accountability” means? Do we need to develop different genres of “accountability” to avoid collapsing these distinctions? (Trans-) national legal mechanisms and localized efforts to promote justice, past and present, make it possible to hold some actors accountable for their involvement in human rights violations. However, many obstacles limit the effectiveness of such approaches. To what extent do historical lessons learned and current best practices offer innovative ways to overcome or bypass these obstacles?

Potential panels include, but are not limited to, historical and contemporary analyses of: Gendered Violence; Regional Mass Violence (Religious or Ethnic); Corporate Accountability; Redistributive Justice; New Tactics in Prevention; Human Rights Norm Entrepreneurs; Ecologies of Reconciliation; Collective Healing Practices; Memory Projects; and Pedagogy.

Please submit an abstract (250 words) to Jean Hearns by 30 September 2016. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 31 October 2016. Please address any questions you may have on the content of the conference to Professor Ken MacLean, and any technical questions to Dr. Mike Geheran.

For information on previous conferences, see