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International Conference: Transitional Justice without Transition? Redressing Past Injustices under State Socialism

The Maoist Legacy will be hosting the international conference “Transitional Justice without Transition? Redressing Past Injustices under State Socialism” on February 21-23, 2019, at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies. The conference will bring together scholars from around the world working on China, the Soviet Union, Romania, and North Korea. Soviet scholar Prof. Dr. Nanci Adler will deliver a keynote entitled: “The Future of the Soviet Past: Russia and the Challenge of the Age of Transitional Justice.”

 

The question of how states and societies cope with the legacy of past injustices has attracted enormous scholarly and political attention in the past three decades. The concept of “transitional justice,” denoting various types of judicial and non-judicial approaches to aid reconciliation and sentence perpetrators, is often used to frame corresponding research. While the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials are commonly cited as pioneering this approach, the “age of transitional justice” (Adler 2018) only began in the 1980s, when the global ascent of human rights discourses underpinned attempts to establish institutions and practices that could help overcome legacies of repression and dictatorship. Most studies invoking the concept of transitional justice therefore only trace transitions from dictatorship to democracy. Yet how are we to understand amnesties, rehabilitations of victims, administrative lustration, trials against perpetrators, and the politics of historical memory during non-democratic transformation processes? This conference will look at attempts at redressing injustices under state socialism. While the majority of the contributions are devoted to the People’s Republic of China, there will also be papers addressing the Soviet Union, Romania or even North Korea. By rethinking the politics of historical justice under Communist Party rule, the conference offers new perspectives about the functions that political-legal approaches serve in autocratic attempts to come to terms with a violent past.

Please find a programme of the conference here.

 

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