Burden of Proof, Burden of Remembrance: Genocide Portraits from Bureaucracies to Memorials

In this research, I examined the history of photographs of genocide victims, taking the Great Purge of the Soviet Union (1937-38) and the Cambodian genocide (1975-79) as my case studies. I explored the successive narratives in which they partake, their evolving functions from their production as bureaucratic documents and oppression tools to their central position in memorial practices and even their reframing as artworks. While these images have been well documented in their different contexts, my research focused on the malleability of their meaning and role, as well as their changing theoretical frames, in particular as they entered the museum and migrated from administration to remembrance.