Facing a Violent Past: Dealing with History and Memory in Conflict Resolution

Date and time: 
Friday, April 22, 2016 - 06:00
Arlington, VA

The Program on History, Memory, and Conflict at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR), George Mason University invites you to a conference of panels and discussion on an array of topics that explore the relationship between history, memory, and conflict resolution.

Increasingly, societies have focused on the necessity of addressing gross violations of human rights experienced under authoritarian rule and atrocity crimes committed during violent internal conflict in both the recent and more distant past. There are societies that have sought to confront the legacy of violence through the revision of history education, multi-level reconciliation practices, and the establishment of macro-level transitional justice mechanisms such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, along with more community based truth-telling approaches. Yet, other societies have institutionalized processes of amnesia and denial. Despite the establishment of various top down and grassroots mechanisms, societies that have experienced destructive violence may continue to be fragmented with multiple and often contested narratives of their past. Moreover, the politicization of historical narratives and processes of collective memorialization have the ability to establish repeated patterns of exclusion and inclusion from the collective process of healing and reconciling with the past. These processes of addressing the legacy of violent conflict are ultimately shaped by interconnected factors related to history, identity, power and leadership, and institutions, along with international factors.

This conference intends to create a dialogic space for inquiry into the complexities and the treatment of history and memory in conflict resolution research, theory, and practice. Join us to look critically at reconciliation processes and peacebuilding that explore mechanisms for identifying how the legacy of the past is manipulated through processes of memorialization and memorial construction that entrench singular narratives and recreate cycles of violence; for monitoring and addressing the politicization of historical narratives and collective memory and; for strengthening the interconnectivity between existing mechanisms to address the legacy of violence, along with exploring marginalized dimensions of reconciling with the past.

For more information, visit the event webpage.