Seventy years after the infamous Wannsee Conference, a landmark on the road to the attempted annihilation of European Jewry, genocide is now a crime under international law, and genocide memory and Holocaust commemoration are part of public consciousness in most parts of the world. Non-governmental organizations in particular campaign tirelessly against mass violence. And yet people across the world are continuously persecuted, expelled or killed because of their race, religion, gender or political affiliation. Collective violence organised by states or sub-state actors is endemic in many regions, and despite all its human rights rhetoric the international community mostly closes its eyes to such atrocities. It appears that prevention has failed, the â€śNever Againâ€ť at the end of World War II gone unheard.
The failure of the international community to develop effective mechanisms to prevent genocide finds its parallel in academia's failure to critically reflect on the state of prevention or to develop new theoretical approaches to respond to it. The International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS) has chosen Genocide: Knowing the Past, Safeguarding the Future as the topic of its 3rd Global Conference on Genocide. We have invited contributions that address the question of genocide and collective violence from a broad variety of perspectives, both historical and current.
The conference committee particularly has invited contributions that address the question why lessons from past genocides and acts of mass violence appear to remain ignored and, as such, ineffective. What are the (historical, anthropological, sociological, political, or philosophical) root causes of conflicts, and how do past violent conflicts and genocides affect or shape the present? The goal of the conference is to address this lacuna by situating the attempted annihilation of European Jewry within the broader frame of genocide studies, an hitherto unique approach, because of its interdisciplinary and international frame, that includes, criminologist, historians, political scientists, political activists, local school teachers and UN representatives.