‘Coming to Terms’ with Reconciliation:
Critical Perspectives on the Practice, Politics, and Ethics
of Transitional Justice

An Interdisciplinary Symposium
Working Paper Series

Ten years after the formation of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the idea and practice of reconciliation has moved from the margin to the center of international debate over how deeply divided countries can heal the wounds of atrocity, promote democratization, and (re)build civil society. For better or worse, reconciliation is now a global issue, one that has direct and controversial bearing on norms of international law, the promotion of human rights, and the delicate problem of how fractured societies can both recognize substantive identity claims and cultivate formal modes of citizenship.

At the same time, there appears to be little agreement over how to best define the process of reconciliation, explain its transformative power, or evaluate its formal and informal promotion. Along with continuing suspicion about reconciliation’s unrealistic promise, debate over these issues has been hampered both by a lack of interdisciplinary dialogue and a continuing gap between scholars and of reconciliation.

On 10-11 November 2006, scholars and practitioners from three continents and a wide variety of academic fields and organizations gathered at the University of Wisconsin to undertake a comparative and theoretically informed dialogue on the meaning, dynamics, and outcomes of reconciliation. In the aftermath of the presentations and debate, symposium participants expressed an interest to continue the conversation, in part through the creation of a web-based working papers series.

The first set of papers is now available in the library section of this site. Additional papers will be added in the coming months.

-- Erik Doxtader