The Historical Dialogues, Justice, and Memory Network provides a platform for researchers and activists working on issues of historical dialogue, historical and transitional justice, and public and social memory. The website provides information and resources to encourage innovative interdisciplinary, transnational and comparative research. It is housed at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, New York City.

  • The Colombian government has agreed to let the UN create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the country.
  • The Memorial Wall in San Salvador is an important representation of the still unfinished reconciliation and reunification after El Salvador's civil war. Photo credit: Center for Human Rights, University of Washington.
  • Former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre will go on trial in Senegal this month after years of victim testimony. Photo credit: Human Rights Watch.
  • July 11th marks the 20th anniversary of mass killings at Srebrenica. Photo credit: Reuters.

News and Activity Updates:

The Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network announces its 2016 Conference:

Confronting Violent Pasts and Historical (In)Justice
NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies,
Amsterdam, December 1-3, 2016

The legacy of genocide, gross human rights violations, mass political violence, and historical injustice has been arguably laid bare through a whole range of mechanisms: official apologies, vetting, international criminal tribunals, national, or local legal proceedings, truth commissions, official commemorations, restitution, revising school history curricula, establishing monuments and museums, and hybrid trials.  Each of these mechanisms seeks to contribute in their own way to accountability, reconciliation, the historical record, victims’ rights, and competing ‘truths’.  As the international ad-hoc trials — often instigated in the immediate aftermath of, or during conflict — wind down, we enter a new phase of evaluating the efficacy of these and other institutionalized means of confronting the violent past.  We can now begin to assess their impact on the societies from which the perpetrators and/or victims emerged.  And what about societies that maintain official amnesia or actively repress the memory of violence with regard to historical injustices? Is there a right timing for addressing the violent past? Should and could historians and historical dialogue play a more instrumental role in these processes?

The 2016 conference aims to explore the abovementioned topics and welcomes papers or panel proposals. Paper or proposal deadline is May 19, 2016. Click here to read the full call for papers. If you have questions about the conference, please see our FAQs.

Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network Conference 2015

The Politics of Memory: Victimization, Violence and Contested Narratives of the Past
Columbia University, New York
International Affairs Building (IAB), 420 West 118th Street, New York City
December 3-5, 2015

Our 2015 conference aimed to explore issues relating to memory, victimhood and violence. Themes included the changing nature and identity of victims and the theme of contested victimization, with a particular interest in topics that explored the anniversaries of historical violence and the way such events are remembered. Keynote speakers included: Former Greek Parliament President, Zoe Konstantopoulou on “Greek Memory of German Violence: The Question of Reparations.” Jeffrey Olick, Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, presented a keynote entitled, “From Collective Guilt to the Politics of Regret”. We also held a plenary session entitled, “Measures of Justice: Impact Assessment, Outcome Metrics, and Empirical Analysis”. For the full conference schedule and more information, click here.

The Network is pleased to announce a call for submissions for a new e-magazine. Please click here for details.

Under the sponsorship of the Herb Feith Foundation Dr Jemma Purdey and Dr Kate McGregor had organised 3 panels and a photo exhibit and a book launch around the 1965 violence at the Ubud writers and readers festival in Bali due to run this week. All events were cancelled by the festival under threats from the police to cancel permission for the entire festival. This is an important and depressing example of closing down dialogue on historical justice. A description of the Herb Feith Foundation and its work can be found here. For an explanation as to the content of the panels, please click here.

Congratulations to the Regional Network for Historical Dialogue and Dealing with the Past (RNHDP) which just completed its seven day training program in Istanbul. Organized by Hafiza Merkezi in cooperation with the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability Program (AHDA) at Columbia University and Columbia Global Centers | Turkey, the training program was geared towards civil society professionals working in the MENA and Caucasus region, working on issues including (but not limited to) transitional justice, truth and reconciliation, historical conflict, minority rights, accountability, memory studies, oral history, sites of memory and related areas where historical dialogue is a central component.

Congratulations to Professor Klaus Neumann, Steering Committee member of the Network, and Janna Thompson on their new book, Historical Justice and Memory!

Congratulations to Professor Nanci Adler, Steering Committee member of the Network, on her new appointment!

Congratulations to Alexander Karn, Steering Committee member of the Network, on his new book, Amending the Past: Europe’s Holocaust Commissions and the Right to History!

The Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex, a monument to the roughly 1.5 million Armenians killed, during a commemoration ceremony this April in Yerevan. Credit Kirill Kudryavtsev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex, a monument to the roughly 1.5 million Armenians killed, during a commemoration ceremony this April in Yerevan. Credit Kirill Kudryavtsev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images