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Holocaust and genocide denial

International and Interdisciplinary event at University of Leicester

Issued on 21 September 2010

School of Historical Studies/School of Law, University of Leicester, International and Interdisciplinary Conference: 23 – 24 September 2010, University of Leicester

Why do some people deny the Holocaust? What options do societies have to deal with Holocaust and genocide denial? Are laws against denial an effective tool in the age of the internet? These and other issues will be tackled at a conference at the University of Leicester.

Eighteen speakers from eight different countries will discuss Holocaust and genocide denial at this event from 23-24 September 2010. A wide range of aspects are addressed: from early forms of Holocaust denial to recent developments and legal response, as well as case studies regarding genocide denial

Dr Olaf Jensen, of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust Studies at the University of Leicester said: “Holocaust and genocide denial are phenomena whose consequences reach far beyond the expression of individual opinions. The views of David Irving, Nick Griffin or Bishop Richard Williamson tend to reach audiences that benefit from denialist arguments for specific political purposes, and the consequences of denialism are not confined to the immediate discourse.”

But denialism also carries significance for more than one academic discipline. Historians are directly affected: deniers often claim to carry out "revisionist" historical research against “orthodox” interpretations and thereby pose the question whether their conclusions deserve a reaction in serious academic debate. To lawyers, denialism raises concerns about the limits of freedom of speech and the protection of dignity. To sociologists and psychologists, the motives of deniers and the repercussions of their statements are of particular importance. There is therefore need for a contextual perspective of Holocaust denial which fosters a better understanding of the perspectives of these disciplines.

The School of Historical Studies (Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust Studies) and the School of Law at the University of Leicester have established an interdisciplinary initiative to investigate denialism, but also other aspects relating to the Holocaust and to genocide.

Dr Paul Behrens of the School of Law said: “This conference is intended to be an initial meeting and appraisal of this field of research, but it will also facilitate the creation of a network of scholars and expert commentators who are interested genocide and Holocaust studies.”

The conference programme and further information can be found on the website of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust Studies, http://www.le.ac.uk/hi/centres/burton/index.html

NOTE TO NEWSDESK

For information, Contact:

Dr Olaf Jensen, Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust Studies, School of Historical Studies, oj6@le.ac.uk, tel: 0116 252 2809

Dr Paul Behrens, School of Law, pk124@le.ac.uk

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