(Im)Possibilities of a Comparative Approach to Transitional Justice
Sponsored by the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Center in South Africa, this event series discusses Taiwan's Transitional Justice in comparative perspective with South Africa and Germany. It’s really something special that the Center features Taiwan this year, and the discussion led by Dr. Dominic Yang Meng-Hsuan and Dr. Agnes Hsiao Lin-yu (two former NATSA committee members!), will kick off the series.
More details about the events:
In 2018, Taiwan installed a Transitional Justice Commission to deal with its authoritarian past. To gain a better understanding of different approaches which could be applied domestically, Taiwanese scholars consulted the experiences of different countries, like Chile and Argentina, Japan and Korea, Germany, South Africa and many other democracies which emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Within this comparative research, Germany and South Africa stood out as having executed two possible yet very different models of coming to terms with their own past. However, when one compares the internal discourse in the respective countries with the reception of both ‘models’ in Taiwan, one can discern some considerable differences.
This forum therefore seeks to explore how the German experience of ‘coming to terms with the past’ and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission are evaluated inside and outside the respective countries through comparison. How are democracies that undergo the process of transitional justice relying on the experience of Germany and South Africa to deal with their own past? Are there any differences in how these experiences are evaluated inside and outside the countries? How does an incomplete, distorted, or biased reception of the German and South African ‘model’ reflect in the domestic implementation of transitional justice policies in other countries? And what does this mean for comparative approaches to transitional justice research in general? These are some questions which will be explored.
The discussions are set to take place once a week, starting from Wednesday, the 15th of June 2022, at 1pm (SAST). Each session lasting approximately 90 minutes consisting of a 60 minute moderated discussion followed by a 30 minute Q&A session. The first three events are dedicated to the three respective countries. During the first roundtable, Taiwanese scholars will discuss the current state of transitional justice in Taiwan. During the second and third session, the Taiwanese reception of the German and South African model is going to be evaluated by German and South African experts in the field. The last discussion serves as a wrap-up, where common themes of transitional justice will be explored, and open questions re-addressed.
Register for this online discussion forum using the link: https://bit.ly/3LKCi5G
15th June, 1pm (SAST) / 7pm (TW), First Discussion: The current state of Transitional Justice in Taiwan
Dominic Yang Meng-Hsuan (楊孟軒) is an Associate Professor of East Asian History in Department of History, University of Missouri-Columbia. His research focuses on the massive human exodus out of China in the mid-twentieth century.
Agnes Hsiao Ling-Yu (蕭伶伃) is working as chief staff of policy planning and implementation in the Mayor’s Office in Taipei City. Agnes is also a member of the International Association for Reconciliation Studies (IARS).
22nd of June, 1pm (SAST) / 7pm (TW), Second Discussion: Coming to terms with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa
Justice Albie Sachs is a distinguished lawyer, activist, scholar and former high justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He took part in the negotiations that made South Africa a constitutional democracy and was appointed to the Constitutional Court by Nelson Mandela.
Lwando Xaso is a lawyer, writer and speaker. She is a trustee of the Constitutional Court, a member of the Constitution Hill, and also the founder of the Including Society.
29th of June , 1pm (SAST) / 7pm (TW), Third Discussion: Is there a consensus in Germany concerning the historiography of the Holocaust?
Matthias N. Lorenz is Professor of German and Comparative literature at Leibniz Universität Hannover (Germany) and Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). He has published monographs on literary antisemitism, censorship in democracy and postcolonial intertextuality.
Jürgen Zimmerer is a German historian of Africa and colonialism. He is Professor of Global History at the University of Hamburg, head of the research center “Hamburg’s (Post-)Colonial Legacy” and was the founding president of the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS) between 2005 to 2017.
Jenny Wüstenberg joined Nottingham Trent University as Associate Professor of Twentieth Century History and Director of the Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory in 2019. She is the co-founder and Co-President of the Memory Studies Association.
6th of July, 1pm (SAST) / 7pm (TW), Final Discussion: Exploring common themes in transitional justice
Helen Scanlon is the convenor of the Justice and Transformation Programme in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. Before joining UCT, she was the Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s (ICTJ) Gender Justice Programme.
Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, is a China specialist with a special focus on contemporary history and politics. She was a professor of Sinology at the University of Vienna until she went into retirement in October 2020 and has published extensively on topics related to historiography, memory studies and international relations.