Payne to Discuss Public Confessions

University of Oxford professor Leigh Payne will explore what happens when perpetrators of past human rights atrocities come forward and publicly confess to their acts on February 27 at 7 pm in room 101 of Dwight Hall.

In her lecture, Unsettling Accounts: The Politics and Performance of Public Confessions by Perpetrators of State Violence, Payne will examine different types of perpetrator confessions in Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and South Africa. She contends that, rather than healing past violence, public confessions are contentious; still, they encourage healthy democratic practices such as freedom of expression, political participation, and the contesting of political ideas. The presentation will include video clips of confessions recorded in Argentina and South Africa.

Payne’s research has been focused on political sociology and the challenges Latin American societies face during transitions from authoritarian rule. Her lecture is based on her 2008 book Unsettling Accounts: Neither Truth nor Reconciliation in Confessions of State Violence (Duke University Press).

The event is sponsored by the Department of Politics at Mount Holyoke College.