CIDRAL events: On human rights and political apologies and the anthropocene

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Events, Seminars | 0 comments

If you are on the CIDRAL mailing list, you will be sent details of how to access these events via email. If you are not, and would like to attend individual events or be included on the list, please contact Sofy Lam:

Tuesday 13 April, 5-7pm: Juliette Schaafsma (Tilburg University), ‘Closing Chapters of the Past: On the Expressive Power of Political Apologies Following Human Rights Violations’

Should a nation apologize for the crimes of its past? Judging by the number of political apologies that have been offered by states or state representatives in recent years, one could easily get the impression that this has become a new standard in (inter)national relations. Nevertheless, there is also skepticism about the sincerity of the phenomenon and the transformative power of political apologies. For example, various scholars have described them as empty gestures, that may not do justice to the weight and impact of the wrongdoings, and that may serve more as a strategy to maintain the status quo or restore the reputation of a country than to address the needs of the victims. Our present knowledge about how countries apologize for human rights violations is rather limited, however, as researchers have tended to focus on a select number of countries, when trying to obtain a better understanding of the phenomenon. In addition, little is known about how political apologies are perceived and valued across the world, by victims as well as non-victims. In this talk, I will try to shed more light on this, by presenting the results of our database on political apologies, and by presenting (preliminary) findings of interviews and worldwide surveys that we conducted among victims as well as non-victims of human rights violations. 

Wednesday 14 April, 2-4pm: Anke Bernau, ‘Anthropocene’ 

In preparation for this seminar, please read as many of the following short pieces as you can, all of which can be accessed via the library catalogue:

  1. Paul Crutzen, ‘The Anthropocene’, in Earth System Science in the Anthropocene, ed. by E. Ehlers and T. Krafft (Berlin: Springer, 2006), pp. 13-18.
  2. Donna J. Haraway, ‘Making Kin: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene’, in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham, Duke University Press, 2016), pp. 99-103.
  3. Stacy Alaimo, ‘Your Shell on Acid: Material Immersion, Anthropocene Dissolves’, in Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), pp. 143-68.
  4. Kathryn Yussoff, ‘Golden Spikes and Dubious Origins’, in A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018), pp. 23-64. 


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