Conversations about Contested-Pasts Historicizing Historical Consciousness in a Globalizing World

By Maria Grever

In several post-colonial countries, the war on monuments and cultural traditions has been given impetus by the Black-Lives Matter movement and is further fuelled by racist hate messages on social media. Teachers grapple with heated debates on these issues in their multicultural classes. They have a tremendously difficult task in dealing with students’ emotions about contested pasts. Sometimes teachers are also confronted with violence outside the classroom. That happened to French history teacher Samuel Paty in 2020, when he was… Read More

Tracing the Politics of Aesthetics

From Imposing, via Counter to Affirmative Memorials to Violence

By Susanne Buckley-Zistel 2021

The article focuses on how memory at a memorial (supposedly) takes place through the aesthetic strategies put to work by the memorial (or rather its architects, creators, artists, etc.) Instead of exploring struggles over memory, it zooms in on the style and form of memorials and how these (intend to) affect visitors. Read More

Generating Tension

Memorial of Sexual Slavery

By Mary Park 2020

The writer explores how war crimes, such as sexual slavery and rape, as delicate and difficult history, are present in today’s dialogue between countries. The focus is on sexual violence perpetrated by the Japanese Imperial Army in South Korea, and how this affects the relationship between these countries to this day. Master Thesis at Rhode Island School of Design. Read More

Should Slavery’s Statues be Removed?

On Transitional Justice and Contested Heritage

By Joanna Burch-Brown 2020

What should we do with statues and place-names memorializing people who committed human-rights abuses linked to slavery and postslavery racism? In this article, I draw on UN principles of transitional justice to address this question. I propose that a successful approach should meet principles of transitional justice recognized by the United Nations, including affirming rights to justice, truth, reparations, and guarantees of nonrecurrence of human rights violations. I discuss four strategies for handling contested heritage, examining strengths and weaknesses of… Read More

Is It Wrong to Topple Statues and Rename Schools?

By Joanna Burch-Brown 2017

In recent years, campaigns across the globe have called for the removal of objects symbolic of white supremacy. This paper examines the ethics of altering or removing such objects. Do these strategies sanitize history, destroy heritage and suppress freedom of speech? Or are they important steps towards justice? Does removing monuments and renaming schools reflect a lack of parity and unfairly erase local identities? Or can it sometimes be morally required, as an expression of respect for the memories of… Read More

Collective Memory, Politics, and the Influence of the Past

The Politics of Memory as a Research Paradigm

By Peter J. Verovšek 2016

The author discusses the past in the context of memories and collective remembrance, and how memories are utilised in the politics of the present day. Both relevant literature, and discursive conception of the politics of memory, are presented. Read More

How is Historical Knowledge Recognized?

By Ernest Wamba-Dia-Wamba 2008

The author discusses the concept of historical memory, what is it and how is it collected, and how historical knowledge plays an integral part in social transformations and developments. Read More

Explaining Wartime Rape

By Jonathan Gottschall 2004

The article provides a brief overview of the literature on wartime rape in historical and ethnographical societies and a critical analysis of the four leading explanations for its root causes: the feminist theory, the cultural pathology theory, the strategic rape theory, and the biosocial theory. Read More

Asian-Pacific Feminist Coalition Politics

The "Chŏngshindae/Jūgunianfu" ("Comfort Women") Movement

By Alice Yun Chai 1993

The article discusses the sexual violence that was perpetrated during Japan’s Pacific War, how this has since been addressed and politicized, and how discussion of this topic has spread to a global feminist movement to Eastern and Southeast Asian countries. Read More