How can democratic societies address historic wrongs and create new forms of justice? 

Photo of  Kristina Mani, Sebastiaan Faber, Renee Romano
Course instructors for this learning community are Kristina Mani, Sebastiaan Faber, and Renee Romano. Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Forms of Justice: Democracy, Historical Memory, and the Legacies of Violence

Offered spring 2019

Through the lenses of history, international politics, and cultural analysis, students will explore how legacies of violence shape the construction of historical memory, compelling democracies both old and new to seek justice in response to their past.

  • Repairing the Past: Readings in Historical Justice explores historical, philosophical and political questions that communities around the world have raised in response to historic injustice. We consider justice mechanisms that countries including Germany, South Africa, and the United States have adopted, weighing their accomplishments and limitations.
  • The Politics of Transitional Justice looks at the international and domestic politics of accountability for mass human rights violations in countries that have undergone political transitions to democracy. Focus on the impact of international tribunals, truth commissions and the construction of collective memory in Latin America.
  • Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography explores how historiography, fiction, and photography have shaped historical memory in Spain. We consider how these processes have unleashed a spirited series of battles in the Spanish public sphere, including the memory movement, a grassroots phenomenon that has helped to reshape the country’s political landscape.

Students enrolled in the learning community are required to attend an additional weekly evening session dedicated to either visiting speakers or film screenings, as well as a field trip, May 4, to the Visitor’s Center at Kent State University.

HIST 493 and either POLT 244 or HISP 357 required for enrollment in this learning community.


Instructors 

Course instructors for this learning community are Professor of Hispanic Studies Sebastiaan Faber, Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani, and Robert S. Danforth Professor of History Renee Romano.

Kristina Mani, instructor

POLT 244 Politics of Transitional Justice
Meets 1:30 pm, Tuesday and Thursday; 4 credit hours; enrollment 20.

Either this course or Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography required for Forms of Justice StudiOC learning community.

How do states and societies deal with the legacies of mass human rights violations?

This course explores the international and domestic politics of accountability for such violations, through the concept of transitional justice, or the judicial and non-judicial measures used to redress mass rights violations and state repression in periods of political transition.

Such measures include international criminal tribunals, truth commissions, reparations, and the construction of collective memory.

Through cases drawn primarily from Latin America, we will explore the scholarly literature on transitional justice, the institutions and practices it embodies, and the theoretical and practical dilemmas it presents in societies.

Renee Romano, instructor

History 493 Repairing the Past: Readings in Historical Justice
Meets 2:30 pm, Monday, and 7 pm, Wednesday; 4 credit hours; enrollment 20.

Required with either POLT 244 or HISP 357 for the Forms of Justice“StudiOC learning community.

Since the end of World War II and especially in the last 30 years, demands for recognition of historical wrongs and redress for past grievances have proliferated in communities and countries around the world.

This class explores the philosophical, historical, and political questions that arise from demands for justice for historic injustice. We will consider when and why the past matters in the present; why global efforts to address historical wrongs emerged in the post-WWII era, and what the benefits and limitations of different mechanisms of pursuing justice for historical oppression are.

The course includes readings about a range of countries, including Germany, South Africa, and the United States. 

Sebastiaan Faber, instructor

HISP 357: Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography
Meets 11 am, Tuesday and Thursday; 4 credit hours; enrollment 20.

Either this course or Politics of Transitional Justice required for Forms of Justice StudiOC learning community.

This course explores how historiography, fiction, and photography have shaped historical memory in Spain. How has democratic Spain dealt with the legacy of the civil war, the Franco dictatorship, and the Transition?

And how have academics, writers, filmmakers, photographers, and journalists engaged with a collective process that is central to the country’s future as a unified, functioning democracy?

These questions have unleashed a spirited series of battles in the Spanish public sphere, particularly since the emergence around the year 2000 of “the memory movement”—a grassroots phenomenon that helped prepare the ground for the convulsive changes that have reshaped the country’s political landscape.