Coming to Terms with Past Violence

Embedded in the fabric of every national narrative is the attempt to understand past violence. Words like reconciliation, reckoning, justice, impunity, accountability, and forgiveness all have distinct connotations depending on their specific national context and the actors who employ them. In this course, we analyze localized forms of interpreting violence through regional case studies from Africa (Sierra Leone, Rwanda, South Africa), Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay), and the United States. Through engaging with primary materials (memoirs, Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports, plays, films, photography, monuments and memorials) and secondary critical readings taken from multiple fields across the humanities and social sciences, students establish an interdisciplinary and trans-Atlantic framework for examining past violence.

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