Symposium - 'Forgive me' is all that you can say

An interdisciplinary symposium exploring the reception and lessons of transitional justice and reconciliation processes

When: Friday 6 September 2019, 9am-5pm
Where: MPS Room, UNE Parramatta Campus

This symposium is hosted by UNE Sociology. It will bring together scholars, postgraduate students, policymakers and analysts working on issues of transitional justice and reconciliation to participate in an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural discussion of the roles of apology and forgiveness in post-conflict justice and reconciliation.

Presentations

The day will include a keynote presentation by Professor Gabrielle Lynch, Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Warwick (UK) and presentations from symposium delegates (see 'call for participation') below.

Important dates

Call for papers: a call for papers is now open and will close 30 June 2019. We're inviting work that explores the reception and lessons of transitional justice and reconciliation processes. Please email a 250 word abstract and short bio and any enquiries to Dr Christina Kenny.

Audience: If you would like to attend as an audience member, please select this option when you register. Registration for audience members will close 30 June 2019.

Keynote presentation

Presenter: Professor Gabrielle Lynch, University of Warwick

To apologise or not? Reckoning with the past for the sake of the future

The idea that ‘the past refuses to lie down quietly’ and must be ‘properly dealt with for the sake of the future’ (Tutu in TRC vol. 1 1008: 7 & 22) lies at the heart of various efforts now commonly labelled as “transitional justice”. But how does the past actually persist? And what does this mean for transitional justice efforts? Taking the case of contemporary Kenya, this paper looks at the complex ways in which violent and unjust pasts can persist and help to shape people’s present realities and likely futures. In so doing, the paper distinguishes between five types of persistence: trajectories lost, continuities, evolutions, echoes, narratives, and repertoires of contention. The paper then looks at what this complex relationship with the past means for public apologies and for what people do (and do not) apologise for and for how such apologies are framed and received. The argument is that both the power and challenge of public apologies for past wrongs lies largely in the difficulty of staging an effective performance of a persuasive commitment to a different future, and that both people's willingness and wariness to apologise is more forward looking than is often recognised.

Call for participation

This symposium invites scholars, postgraduate students, policymakers and analysts working on issues of transitional justice and reconciliation to offer papers addressing conflict resolution between different nationalities and/or cultural groups including, but not limited to Kenyan and East African contexts, and Australasia and the Pacific.

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural discussion of the roles of apology and forgiveness in post-conflict justice and reconciliation mechanisms with Prof. Lynch and fellow contributors.

Selected papers from the symposium will form an edited collection which emphasises the importance of adopting contextualised grassroots transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms, and which presents case studies addressing a variety of approaches to transitional justice and reconciliation. The collection will be useful for scholars of post-conflict and transitional justice processes, and mediators and transitional justice practitioners in the design and implementation of constructive post-conflict initiatives.

 Venue 

This symposium will be held at UNE's Sydney campus in Parramatta.

Location: MPS Room, 232 Church Street. View map.

Registration 
Registrations are now open. The cost for the day is $70 (standard rate) or $20 (concession rate).

Click here to register.