Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network
Live Seminar Series
SEMINAR #5: Transitional History: Accounts of Atrocity and Accountability in Africa
Participant: Thijs Bouwknegt, Senior Researcher, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust & Genocide Studies.
Date: 29 November, 2022. 10am PST; 1pm EST; 5pm GMT; 7pm CET
Zoom registration here: https://colgate.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJctcOCupj8tGt37wDira3iKCpX4fieDH9V2
Abstract: Historian Thijs Bouwknegt critically engages with the historical phenomenon of transitional justice, and argues that “transitional history” – reframing the past and historical narratives in service of the present and the future – is a more usable term to understand the political and societal processes of dealing with the past. His forthcoming book gauges the modern history of mass atrocity violence (starting at the Berlin Conference of 1884/5), and consequentlytraces the evolution of transitional justice (starting in 1890 regarding the Congo Free State) in Africa. It concludes with three empirical case-studies (on atrocity crime trials at the ICTR, SCSL, and the ICC), which show that historical truth-finding through transitional testimony and history-writing through adversarial proceedings was problematic, and its results mediocre. Tribunals, he argues, should deal more responsibly with history.
Thijs Bouwknegt is Senior Researcher at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust & Genocide Studies. Since 2002, he has attended, monitored and reported on the atrocity crime trials of over 160 defendants at international criminal tribunals, the International Criminal Court, and a range of national jurisdictions in Africa and Europe.
Previous seminars include:
Line Engbo Gissell (Roskilde U.): “The Standardization of Transitional Justice?” Recording here: https://colgate.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=5f75e1cf-3959-4617-bf70-af3b0131a1fd
Cheryl Lawther (Queen’s University Belfast): “Beyond Innocence and Guilt: Constructing Victimhood in Transitional Justice. Recording here: https://colgate.zoom.us/rec/play/R6F-yNT8sW0tS-2PiApUDpHdT-VVhcQYKBgEE1SkLzW9Ri9Gr8ZxbAspiNBDbr_rGruBu77uuOLXr44b.cAiHlGWAh24lfdrO?continueMode=true
Nicole Fox (California State University Sacramento): “After Genocide: Memory and Reconciliation in Rwanda”
Juliette Schaafsma (Tilburg University) and Marieke Zoodsma (Tilburg University): “Trends in Political Apologies Across the World: Insight from the Political Apologies Database”
Lea David (University College Dublin): The Past Can’t Heal Us (Cambridge UP, 2020) by Lea David, book discussion
Recording accessible here: https://medialibrary.colgate.edu/hapi/v1/contents/permalinks/e4SPn35E/view
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