Histcon.se Time, Memory and Representation Tid, Minne, Representation

A Multidisciplinary Program on Transformations in Historical Consciousness

Ett mångdisciplinärt forskningsprogram om historiemedvetandets förvandlingar


Call for papers: Living with the past

Published on 12 January, 2011

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 3-5 June 2011

First call for papers: Living with the past

The Philosophy Department of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, is hosting a conference on the topic ‘Living with the Past’.

Date: 3-5 June 2011

Keynote speakers:

Howard McGary (Rutgers)

Lionel K. McPherson (Tufts)


In 2008 the U.S. House of Representatives issued an apology to African Americans for the practice of slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws. In the same year, the Australian government issued a formal apology to its aboriginal peoples for policies that "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss". In South Africa, the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” was tasked with responding to past wrongdoing through discovering and publishing the truth about the past, and through giving victims a forum, as well as (in theory) reparations. This conference explores certain moral issues arising from the above and similar responses to past wrongdoing, with a focus, but not an exclusive focus, on group wrongdoing.

Questions to be addressed by the conference include (but are not limited to) the following:

· How should we respond to past atrocities?

· Is the notion of collective guilt defensible?

· Does accepting an apology where there have been no reparations compromise the victims?

· Are reparations still required generations after the original victims of atrocity have died? What alternatives are there to reparations?

· What are the moral obligations of the descendents of the perpetrators of atrocity to the descendents of the victims of atrocity?

Deadline for submission of papers: 30 March 2011

Papers should be sent to Yhesmien.Hill@wits.ac.za <Yhesmien.Hill@wits.ac.za> , and should be suitable for presentation in no more than 40 minutes (i.e. 3500 to 4000 words).

Enquiries: Dylan.Futter@wits.ac.za <Dylan.Futter@wits.ac.za> or Lucy.Allais@wits.ac.za <Lucy.Allais@wits.ac.za> .

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