Human Rights International Book Series features Leigh Payne

The International Institute’s International Faculty Book Series
(formerly the World Beyond Our Borders Book Series)

on Human Rights around the World


Leigh Payne (UW–Madison, Political Science)

discussing her new book

Unsettling Accounts: The Politics and Performance of Confessions by Perpetrators of Authoritarian State Violence (Duke University Press, 2007)

Tuesday, May 6 at 7pm
University Bookstore in the Hilldale Mall (702 N. Midvale Boulevard)

Payne draws on interviews, unedited television film, newspaper archives, and books written by perpetrators to analyze confessions of state violence in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and South Africa. Each of these four countries addressed its past through a different institutional form, from blanket amnesty, to conditional amnesty based on confessions, to judicial trials. Payne considers perpetrators’ confessions as performance, examining what perpetrators say and what they communicate non-verbally; the timing, setting, and reception of their confessions; and the different ways that the perpetrators portray their pasts, whether in terms of remorse, heroism, denial, or sadism, or through lies or betrayal.