19 June 2018

Ugur Üngör on studying mass murder

De hal van de namen in Yad Vashem, Jeruzalem, Israël © iStockphoto.com/tzahiV
The Hall of Names in Yad Vashem , Jerusalem, Israel © iStockphoto.com/tzahiV

As a historian, Dr Uğur Üngör (Political History) frequently encounters mass violence, genocide and mass murder. "But studying mass murder is no picnic," he says. For Oxford University Press he wrote a blog on how studying mass murder can affect the researcher in profound ways.

Dr. Ugur Ümit Üngör. Foto Jussi Puikkonen/KNAW
Dr Uğur Üngör

Recently scholars have examined how conducting research, including ethnographic fieldwork, archival investigation, and oral history interviews, can affect the researcher. Two particular difficulties that obstruct research on this subject stood out: political constraints and psychological attrition. These risks should be taken seriously, he argues,  by academic institutions, journals and colleagues. "We may not be willing or able to change our research topics, but we do need our colleagues and audience to be aware of these challenges."