Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Introducing...Dr Margaret Comer

7 August 2023

Dr Comer is a Research Fellow for the IAS Centre for Collective Violence, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Dr Margaret Comer

Margaret’s research focuses on the heritage of mass repression, Soviet and post-Soviet memorialisation and heritagisation, Holocaust memorialisation and heritagisation, grievability and memory, and contested memory. She is specifically interested in how post-repression societies variously portray violence, suffering, perpetration, bystanding and victimhood at sites associated with mass violence. The overarching goal is to analyse how the heritage of past violence can be instrumentalised in order to avoid reckoning with past violence and, further, how this heritage can be weaponised in order to further contemporary violence. Her research interests also include preservation and tourism at sites of mass repression, materiality and memorialisation, and heritage and climate change.

From 2020 to 2023, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher on the European Research Council-funded project 'Translating Memories: The Eastern European Past in the Global Arena', based at Tallinn University (grant agreement no 853385). In 2019-20, she was the Research Assistant on ‘Safeguarding Sites: The IHRA Charter for Best Practice’, an interdisciplinary project funded by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This ongoing project aims to identify types of risk that threaten the preservation of Holocaust sites and then draft ‘best practices’ guidelines to protect them. She remains involved with the project, which will run through 2024. Her PhD (2015-19) was funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust.