Lecture by Uğur Ümit Üngör 'How funny is genocide? An awkward lecture on humor and mass violence'

25 September 2012 from 14:30 to 18:00 hrs
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Genocide may seem to be a subject so sensitive it is beyond the reach of humor and comedy. Most people would agree that there is nothing funny about this evil phenomenon. However, the history of genocide is replete with various humorous treatments by different actors with distinctive objectives.

This type of dark humor treats the topic, which is usually enveloped with solemnity, in a satirical manner. This lecture explores the possibilities and impossibilities of genocide humor. It argues that dark humor is widespread among survivors and scholars of genocide and that it functions as a coping mechanism for their daily occupation with mass violence.

Uğur Ümit Üngör (1980) gained his Ph.D. in 2009 (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam. In 2008-09, he was Lecturer in International History at the Department of History of the University of Sheffield, and in 2009-10, he was Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for War Studies of University College Dublin. Currently he is Assistant Professor at the Department of History at Utrecht University and at the NIOD: Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam. His main area of interest is the historical sociology of mass violence and nationalism. His most recent publications include Confiscation and Destruction: The Young Turk Seizure of Armenian Property (Continuum, 2011) and the award-winning The Making of Modern Turkey: Nation and State in Eastern Anatolia, 1913-1950 (Oxford University Press, 2011).