K. F. Anderson and E. Jessee, "Researching Perpetrators of Genocide" (U Wisconsin Press, 2020)

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Researchers often face significant and unique ethical and methodological challenges when conducting qualitative field work among people who have been identified as perpetrators of genocide. This can include overcoming biases that often accompany research on perpetrators; conceptualizing, identifying, and recruiting research subjects; risk mitigation and negotiating access in difficult contexts; self-care in conducting interviews relating to extreme violence; and minimizing harm for interviewees who may themselves be traumatized.

K. F. Anderson and E. Jessee's Researching Perpetrators of Genocide (U Wisconsin Press, 2020) offers a collection of case studies by scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds turns a critical and reflective eye toward qualitative fieldwork on the topic. Framed by an introduction that sets out key issues in perpetrator research and a conclusion that proposes and outlines a code of best practice, the volume provides an essential starting point for future research while advancing genocide studies, transitional justice, and related fields. This original, important, and welcome contribution will be of value to historians, political scientists, criminologists, anthropologists, lawyers, and legal scholars.

Jeff Bachman is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC.

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