The University of Newcastle, Australia

History of murder

Event Name History of murder
Start Date 8 Oct 2014 6:00 PM
End Date 8 Oct 2014 8:00 PM
Duration 2 hours

You are invited to a free public talk on the history of murder by one of the world's leading experts on the history of crime, punishment and murder.

Eventbrite - Public talk on the history of murderHosted by the Centre for the History of Violence and The Lock-Up, this talk –The History of Murder: Europe and the World – will be given by Professor Pieter Spierenburg from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Professor Spierenburg questions whether our modern world really is as violent as the media makes out, and argues that we are living in less violent times.

Until recently, the history of homicide ("ordinary murder") and massacre ("organised murder") has resulted in two opposite conclusions. On the one hand is the argument that killing has decreased over time. On the other is the argument recent times are the most violent in history.

History of Murder

"A considerable amount of research has been done on the history of ordinary murder in Europe. We now know that homicide rates declined in this continent from several dozen per 100,000 inhabitants in the Middle Ages to 1-2 during the last 150 years."

"The long-term history of homicide outside the Western world, unfortunately, is hardly known. Our knowledge of massacres throughout the world, on the other hand, is increasing in recent years," Professor Spierenburg said.

"Whereas general studies of genocide have suggested that mass killing is especially characteristic for the last 150 years or so, there is enough evidence presently to question this assumption."

About Professor Pieter Spierenburg

Professor Peter Spierenburg

Professor Spierenburg has been a visiting professor at the History Department of Carnegie Mellon University (2001) and the Law School of the University of California at Berkeley (2006). Since September 2013, he is affiliated with the Dutch Institute for Genocide and Holocaust Studies (also known as the NIOD) and the Norbert Elias Foundation.

He has published numerous articles and a number of books in the field of the history of crime and punishment as well as that of socio-cultural history. His works include A History of Murder: Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present (Polity, 2008), and Written in Blood: Fatal Attraction in Enlightenment Amsterdam (Ohio State University Press, 2004). His most recent book is Violence and Punishment: Civilizing the Body through Time (Polity, 2012).

This is a 40 minute talk beginning at 6pm. There will be drinks served afterwards.

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