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Criminology Seminar Series - Exhibiting Crime and Punishment: Dark Tourism and the Aftermath of Trauma

Starts 25 January 2018 - 18:00
Finishes 25 January 2018 - 19:30
Venue MAL G16, Birkbeck, University Of London, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HX
Booking details
Free entry; booking required
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Event description

Exhibiting Crime and Punishment: Dark Tourism and the Aftermath of Trauma

Speaker: Professor Eamonn Carrabine (Department of Sociology, University of Essex)

In this paper Professor Carrabine explores some of the some of the ethical questions posed by dark tourism and the spectacle of suffering through examples drawn from his current research on the ‘Iconography of Punishment: From Renaissance to Modernity’. In particular, he addresses the global phenomenon whereby former sites of imprisonment are transformed into popular tourist attractions. Recognising that dark tourism involves and spans a fluid range of intensity the museum experience is nevertheless central to it where representations of death, disaster or atrocity are displayed for an uneasy mix of education, commerce and memorialisation purposes. Although images are often integral to the prison tourist experience they need to be situated in the context of what has been called the ‘museum effect’. This effect is produced by the complex interplay of objects, images and space. Crucially, it is achieved via a form of choreographed movement through institutional space, which combined with the allure of artefacts and practices, enables visitors to connect with a particular visualisation of the past. Critics have raised concerns over the ways in which leisure and pleasure are mixed with tragedy at the sites of dark tourism, and the paper will examine why the practice has been condemned as an inappropriate and immoral way to publicly commemorate human suffering.

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About the Criminology Seminar Series

In line with the School of Law, Birkbeck's research and teaching ethos, the Criminology Seminar Series aims to provide a platform for critical and interdisciplinary research, showcasing prominent and path-breaking research on crime, criminal justice and related themes by scholars from within and beyond Birkbeck. The series is convened by Dr Sappho Xenakis, School of Law, Birkbeck.

Attendance to the events is free but registration is required. Talks from the 2017/18 series will be avaible for download via the website. Find out more about the series here. The hashtag for the event is #BBKCrimSeries.

Please note that latecomers to the event are not guaranteed entry. Please be advised that photographs may be taken at the event for use on the Birkbeck website and in Birkbeck marketing materials. By attending this event, you consent to Birkbeck photographing and using your image for these purposes.

By registering for this event you consent to your email address being added to the School of Law, Birkbeck mailing list. Your email address will not be shared with third-party organisations. If you would like to request your removal from our mailing list please contact

Picture credit: Image is by Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib #67 (2005). University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Gift of the Artist, 2009.12.42 Photographed for the UC Berkeley Art Museum by Benjamin Blackwell.

Contact name
Professor Eamonn Carrabine (Department of Sociology, University of Essex)
Further details

School/department website

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