Recollection, Retribution, Reconciliation: Postmemory and Justice in a Transnational Age

October 4-6, 2012


Brett Kaplan (Comparative Literature), Michael Rothberg (English), Colin Flint (Geography), and Matti Bunzl (Anthropology)

"Recollection, Retribution, Reconciliation: Postmemory and Justice in a Transnational Age" will bring together a small group of distinguished scholars working on topics that provide insights into the intersection of postmemory and transitional justice in different historical-geographical settings. 

"Recollection, Retribution, Reconciliation" will explore the following questions: How do different groups of inheritors of guilt and victimization resonate with one another across space and time? How is reconciliation configured across national contexts and within transnational norms? How do memories, postmemories, and testimonies contribute to the legal questions of retribution and justice? By bringing together an engaged group of scholars from such fields as literary studies, sociology, law, anthropology, geography, and other disciplines, this working conference will reflect on these and other questions at the cutting edge of global efforts to negotiate traumatic pasts and presents. By looking at diverse events from different regions including Europe, Latin America, Southern Africa, and Southeast Asia—from the Holocaust to the disappeared to apartheid to the killing fields—the event will open up dialogue about pressing issues of transitional and transnational justice across different spaces and discourses. 

This conference resonates with the global and interdisciplinary ethos of SLCL and would likely bring in local faculty and graduate students from Comparative Literature, French, East Asian Languages and other departments in the school. We hope that this conference will lead to significant discussion of the pressing concerns of reconciliation, retribution, and justice. 

Thursday, October 4 

8:00pm: Levis Faculty Center, 3rdFloor, 919 W. Illinois, Urbana

Opening Roundtable: “Recollection, Retribution, Reconciliation” with Karen Engle (Texas), Judith Halberstam (USC), Marianne Hirsch (Columbia), & Michael Rothberg (Illinois). Moderated by Brett Ashley Kaplan (Illinois).

Friday, October 5, Levis Faculty Center, 2ndFloor Music Room, 919 W. Illinois, Urbana

9:30-11:00am: Session One

Discussion of papers by Amy Huber (NYU) and Marianne Hirsch (Columbia) & Leo Spitzer (Dartmouth). Response by Emanuel Rota (Italian, Illinois)

11:15-12:45pm: Session Two

Discussion of papers by Vilashini Cooppan (UC-Santa Cruz) and Macarena Gomez-Barris (USC). Response by Jessica Greenberg (Anthropology, Illinois)

12:45-2:00pm: Lunch for participants at Illini Ballroom

2:00-3:30pm: Session Three

Discussion of papers by Karen Engle (U of Texas, Austin) and James Tyner (Kent State). Response by Colleen Murphy (Philosophy, Illinois)

3:45-5:15: Session Four

Discussion of papers by Debarati Sanyal (UC-Berkeley) and Judith Halberstam (USC). Response by Bruce Rosenstock (Jewish Studies/Religious Studies, Illinois)


Co-sponsors for the workshop include the Program in Jewish Culture and Society, the Center for Global Studies, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the School for Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics, and the Program in Comparative and World Literatures.