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History and Reconciliation

Course number: U8189

Since the end of the Cold War historical memory has come to play an increasing role in international and intra-national conflicts. Numerous countries transitioning from dictatorship to democracy have focused on the gross historical violations of a previous regime. But not all. The question is how does a focus on the past facilitate present conflicts or reconciliation? Societies are faced with the expectation that they will attend to the crimes of previous regimes. How does retributive justice relate to reconciliation? These issues become even more vexing in the case of crimes in historical perspective: What are the standards for historical responsibility? How does historical conflict and reconciliation differ from approaches to immediate accountability for the past in newly democratic societies? The course examines these political and ethical dilemmas in a comparative historical perspective.