News and Events
Cutting edge research on display at the University of Leicester on 27 June 2013
An inter-disciplinary research network which seeks to explore the human capacity for cruelty is being established at the University of Leicester.
The Extremes of Human Cruelty Research Network, brainchild of Dr Sarah Hodgkinson from the Department of Criminology, aims to understand how individuals such as Josef Fritzl and Ian Brady develop in modern society, as well as exploring the reasons behind our fascination with the terrible crimes that they commit.
The network will bring together academics, practitioners and other interested parties from a variety of disciplines to explore a dark and diverse range of topics including sexual and violent offenders, homicide and serial killing, abuse and torture, mass violence, and genocide.
As well as showcasing the existing work and research of the contributors, the network will provide a forum to develop collaborative projects, generate debate and discussion, and attract further scholars, practitioners and researchers with an interest in these areas.
Dr Sarah Hodgkinson, said: “It is a fundamental part of human nature to seek to understand human evil and atrocities and we need to know why such things occur.
“Often researchers from many disciplines are interested in the same fundamental questions but we do not get specific opportunities to hear about work being undertaken outside of our own field.
“Much can be gained from collaborating with individuals working outside of our own discipline and learning from their perspective to enrich our own research.“
Death and suffering continue to pervade mainstream pop culture and ‘dark tourism’ is a growing industry. The Extremes of Human Cruelty Research Network will explore the reasons behind this public fascination with the sinister side of human nature.
Dr Hodgkinson said: “This research builds on my existing interest in the growth of ‘dark tourism’ in recent years and the way in which we are drawn to darker and darker experiences. In other words, why are we so fascinated by evil and atrocities, and what psychological need does dark tourism fulfil in people?”
Dr Hodgkinson will be conducting some of this research in Germany and Austria during the summer. Anyone who has recently visited a Holocaust site is encouraged to get in touch with her on firstname.lastname@example.org to share their experiences and inform her research.
Those with an interest in joining the network should Dr Sarah Hodgkinson directly on email@example.com
You can also follow Dr Hodgkinson on her blog
Representations of the Holocaust in Italian culture to be examined at the 2013 Aubrey Newman Lecture at University of Leicester on Wednesday 8 May
The story of a Holocaust Survivor and the nature of Holocaust ‘tourism’ at talks on 13 and 14 March
Annual conference for the Stanley Burton Centre takes place in Vienna from 8-10 November