I am seeking to put together a panel for AHA 2020 titled "Historians Engaging with Processes of Transitional Justice." Here is the abstract:
How can the academic knowledge and skills of trained historians help us tackle the most pressing challenges our societies face in the present? How can rigorous knowledge about the past and civic engagement work together to promote social justice and human rights? This panel brings together historians who apply their skills and knowledge to promote social change in the present. In particular, it discusses the contributions that the historical discipline can make to processes of transitional justice in different parts of the globe. The way we tackle the transition from conflict to peace has changed over time, and notions of justice have broadened. From an initial approach that focused on rectifying human rights violations through criminal prosecution, our understanding of transitional justice has broadened over the years to include truth commissions, reparation, and memorialization. Oral historians have played a very important role in pushing forward the right to truth of victims of armed conflict, for example. However, the relevance of history does not stop there. Some scholars argue that for there to be justice it is imperative to address the root causes, that is, the structural socioeconomic and gendered inequalities that underlie war. As such, transitional justice is not exclusively a legal or political matter, and history becomes deeply relevant to delve into its social and local dimensions. I am looking for papers that present experiences of historians actively engaging in peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict societies that critically reflect on the possibilities and challenges of this kind of work.
My own paper will focus on my experience leading a collaborative and multidisciplinary project in Colombia called “Historias para lo que viene”. This project is a collaboration of historians, designers, media-makers, and popular communicators in local radio stations that creates short radio pieces and podcasts that seek to bring together memory and history by integrating testimonies of reconciliation in the context of the Colombian armed conflict with local historical context about the local root causes of war. The media we produce seeks to enrich public debate about the causes of the Colombian conflict and, in particular, to move the debate beyond victims and perpetrators to generate reflections on the ways in which society as a whole has a role to play in peacebuilding.
If you are interested or have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com no later than Feb. 3.
Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá