CFP (Workshop): Carceral Spaces in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 22-23 September 2023, Leicester, UK (Deadline May 1)

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Call for Papers: Carceral Spaces in Holocaust and Genocide Studies

International Workshop

22nd-23rd September 2023, University of Leicester 

Leicester, United Kingdom

A global symbol of violence and extreme suffering, the Nazi concentration camps evoke images of monstrous SS guards and prisoners as seemingly powerless “ghastly marionettes” (Arendt, 1951). Yet more recent research has increasingly emphasised the lived experience of victims, in addition to the multifaceted nature of genocidal perpetration. Scholars such as Annika Wienert, Simone Browne, Nikolaus Wachsmann, and Victoria Knight and Jennifer Turner have noted that carceral spaces play a key role in the implementation of repression, genocide, and mass murder. While considerable work has been done in Holocaust studies on the centrality of camps and ghettos to the Nazi project, fewer connections have been made between spaces in Holocaust studies and the study of other modern atrocities. Taking our cue from the outgrowth of research in Holocaust and genocide studies, our workshop seeks to explore the role of space and environment in the modern history of genocide.

The Workshop’s keynote address will be given by Donald Bloxham, Richard Pares Professor of European History at the University of Edinburgh.


We invite applications from scholars whose research examines carceral spaces in state-sponsored forms of persecution, broadly defined. Examples include, but are not limited to, concentration camps, extermination camps, ghettos, killing fields, and prisons. Our workshop is consciously interdisciplinary. We invite applicants from various disciplines such as history, criminology, sociology, anthropology, and literature. Our hope is to assemble a critical mass of scholars who are interested in how carceral spaces shape the perpetration of state-sponsored murder as well as its effects on victim populations. 

We welcome papers that focus on:

  • Materiality: How does the architecture and built environment of these spaces relate to the perpetration of persecution and genocide?
  • Gender: How are carceral spaces gendered? What is the role of gender and/or emotions in these spaces?
  • Scale: What are the central differences between individual approaches to space and violence in comparison with macro-level approaches focusing on societal level analysis? 
  • Memory: How do these spaces and their cultures of memory interact with contemporary political discussions? How have governments mobilised carceral spaces for memory wars? 

Papers should be in English and should not exceed 15 minutes. Please submit a 250-word abstract and a one-page CV as a single PDF to by 1st May 2023. Applicants will be informed of the outcome by 30th June 2023. We welcome proposals from scholars of all stages and we particularly encourage applications from doctoral students, early career scholars and scholars from underrepresented populations.

The workshop will take place in person at the University of Leicester on Friday 22nd September and Saturday 23rd September 2023. By making this a primarily in-person event, we hope to facilitate informal discussions, connections and knowledge sharing. However, online options can be set up for applicants whose circumstances prevent them from travelling to Leicester. The organisers will cover registration fees for all participants, including meals during the duration of the workshop. Pending additional funding, participants may be able to apply for partial bursaries to cover travel and hotel expenses. 

Organising Committee

Jessica Cretney, De Montfort University (, Karianne Hansen, University of Leicester (, Jonathan Lanz, Indiana University Bloomington (

Supported by

Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Leicester

Indiana University Bloomington