CFP: Forgiveness and Memory. Interdisciplinary perspectives and experiences from around the world

Margarita Sierra Hurtado's picture

The Revista de Estudios Sociales (RES) of Universidad de los Andes (Colombia) kindly invites the academic community to submit articles for a special issue “Forgiveness and Memory. Interdisciplinary perspectives and experiences from around the world”.

Guest Editors: Santiago Amaya (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), Pablo Abitbol (Historical Memory Regional Group and Universidad Tecnológica del Bolívar, Colombia), Lucy Allais (University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and Johns Hopkins University, United States).

Articles should be submitted between January 10th and February 17th, 2023

Submissions will be accepted in either English, Spanish, or Portuguese, and should follow the editorial and stylistic guidelines of RES. ( authors/res/editorial-policy)

All papers should be submitted through the following link:


Forgiving requires remembering. Yet, at the same time, it involves changing our relationship with the past. How should that change be characterized? Are there ways of remembering that make it either easier or harder to forgive? Does forgiving change the ways in which we remember?

Social scientists and humanities scholars have widely discussed the topics of forgiveness and memory, although these discussions have tended to treat these topics separately. There are, however, conceptual, historical, and political reasons to think that a joint treatment of these topics can be fruitful. To mention just one example, key questions with respect to reconciliation processes such as those in South Africa and Colombia require that we understand how these processes relate to individual and collective memories of atrocities, and whether and to what extent they relate to forgiveness.

Memory and forgiveness, on the other hand, have been topics of disparate disciplines. But there are methodological reasons that make inter-disciplinary dialogues on these topics desirable. Experimental approaches to the relations between forgiveness and memory can benefit from the nuance of case studies and approaches based on field work. The latter, in turn, can refine their hypothesis and sharpen their theoretical tools in light of recent developments underlying the cognitive and social mechanisms behind personal memories and dispositions to forgive.

Finally, one of the difficulties of studying forgiveness and its connections to memory is that the experience of forgiving is a very personal one and, hence, is loaded with much geographical and socio-cultural variation. This signals the importance of having cross-cultural and comparative approaches to develop a more global perspective on forgiveness and to promote dialogue between different perspectives on the subject from around the globe.

The purpose of this special issue is to gather a set of articles on the relations between forgiveness and memory that is disciplinary diverse, that speaks about the varieties of personal and collective experiences of forgiveness from around the world, and that encourages trans-disciplinary and cross regional dialogues on these topics. We therefore encourage scholars from the social sciences and humanities working on these topics based within different traditions and from different perspectives (disciplinary, theoretical, methodological) to send in their theoretical, empirical, and experimental contributions.

Suggested topics include, but are not restricted to:

Conceptions of forgiveness. Although forgiveness is familiar experience, it is not easy to capture the many ways of forgiving in a single definition. Can we provide a unified account of the phenomenon? How do the different experiences of forgiving relate to each other and to different ways of remembering past transgressions? How do these conceptions vary in different places and times? How do we cross-culturally study people’s understandings of forgiveness?

The importance of memory for forgiveness. Memory is implicated in forgiveness, as well as other forms of reconciliation. What is the precise relationship between remembering and forgiving? What forms of remembering facilitate forgiveness? Are there ways of remembering that are detrimental to processes of reconciliation? Does forgiving change the way we remember?

Individual/collective/and or institutional processes of forgiving and remembering. Forgiveness and memory can be understood as individual, collective and/or institutional processes and endeavors. What is the relationship between the individual and the collective? The collective and the institutional? For instance, can individuals ask for/grant forgiveness on behalf certain groups? What role do institutions in charge of collective memory (museums, truth commissions, etc.,) play in individual and collective processes of forgiveness?

Ethics of forgiving and remembering. Forgiving others, while remembering what they did, tends to be regarded as a good thing, a sign of generosity. But there are occasions on which forgiveness is not a good thing (e.g., if the person doing the forgiving is still under threat) and ways of remembering past transgressions that might not be beneficial (e.g., if they involve harmful rumination or re-victimization). Under what conditions is forgiveness a good/bad thing? What factors shape people’s evaluation of the goodness/badness of forgiveness? How do people think forgiven transgressions ought to be remembered? How does the ethics of forgiveness interact with the ethics of memory?

If you have any questions regarding these or other possible topics, please contact Santiago Amaya at

For more information please contact:

Margarita Sierra
Managing Editor | Revista de Estudios Sociales
Tel: +57 (601) 3394949 ext. 4819
School of Social Sciences | Universidad de los Andes (Colombia)