Evils of a Global Past? Post-colonial Genocide Memory and Glocally Entangled Reconciliation Politics

This project builds on the obser­vation of multi-directional effects (Rothberg 2009), which globa­lized dis­courses and re­presen­tations of the holocaust have rendered for the re­inter­pretation of colonial mass violence. Michael Rothberg argues that (genocide) memory is marked by interaction and appro­priation across boundaries, in a “productive, inter­cultural dynamic”. The related debate surrounding memory com­petition vs. multi-directional memory phenomena has gained particular momentum within post-colonialism as a critical research strand. Post-colonial studies has drawn attention to global historical frames of large-scale violence committed in colonial contexts and triggered debates about possible ways of con­ceptualizing the con­temporary legacies of colonial intrusion, the deep trans­formations colonialism produced, and their long-term effects.

On the one hand, over the past decades, the complex histories of colo­nial violence and resulting power relation­ships have become the subject of multi-stranded research, aiming to come to grips with multi­directional cultural flows across the globe and their im­plications for local agency. On the other, a new poli­tical field of action has developed, involving trans­national initia­tives aimed at the re­cognition of historical victimhood, com­pensation, and recon­ciliatory politics in local arenas and in inter­national relations. This pheno­menon can be linked to a “cosmo­politan liberal empathy”, materialised in the “normative require­ment for states to repudiate past atrocities that are discordant with their twenty-first century liberal projected complexions”, as the British political scientist Tom Bentley notes: The once cherished global “discoveries” and colonial conquests by European powers have been effecti­vely re­interpreted as great evils that require political renounce­ment; and doing so may facilitate the con­struction of new relations, narratives, and projections – of the past, present, and possible de-colonized futures.

The emer­ging trans­formations in dealing with colonial legacies and memories of violence do not come without novel contra­dictions and multi­faceted tensions. In this vein, the project examines different cases of post­colonial memory politics, which intend to foster recon­ciliation between the descen­dants of historical per­petrators and of their victims. It studies the impact of such ‘de-colonizing’ activities on social iden­tities, mutual per­ceptions, and inter-group relations. We distinguish between (1) domestic recon­ciliation efforts, which typically mark settler colonial states, and (2) cross-border initiatives. The case studies explore on the different scales the em­ployed narratives, inter­pretation frames, roles, and activities of key actors, in order to identify similarities and differences in the struggle for decoloni­zation and to trace their multi-directional dynamics.

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Approaches to Decolonizing Settler Colonialism: Examples from Canada | 2022

Kopp, Rita Theresa/Mannitz, Sabine (2022): Approaches to Decolonizing Settler Colonialism: Examples from Canada, PRIF Working Papers No. 58, Frankfurt/M, DOI: PRIFWP58.

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Canada's Violent Legacy | 2022

Mannitz, Sabine/Drews, Friederike (2022): Canada's Violent Legacy. How the Processing of Cultural Genocide is Hampered by Political Deficits and Gaps in International Law, PRIF Report 3/2022, Frankfurt/M, DOI: 10.48809/prifrep2203.

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Probleme der Aufarbeitung kulturellen Genozids | 2021

Drews, Friederike/Mannitz, Sabine (2021): Probleme der Aufarbeitung kulturellen Genozids. Rechtliche Regelungslücken und politische Defizite am Beispiel Kanadas, PRIF Report 7/2021, Frankfurt/M, DOI: 10.48809/prifrep2107.

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Kanadas Genozid an den First Nations: Der Aufarbeitungskonflikt braucht Recht und Politik | 2021

Drews, Friederike (2021): Kanadas Genozid an den First Nations: Der Aufarbeitungskonflikt braucht Recht und Politik, PRIF Blog, 29.9.2021.

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Völkermord an Herero und Nama: Für Versöhnung braucht es viele | 2021

Mannitz, Sabine (2021): Völkermord an Herero und Nama: Für Versöhnung braucht es viele, in: Chrismon plus, September 2021, 10, www.chrismon.evangelisch.de/(...).

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Gut gemeint genügt nicht: Die Aussöhnung mit Namibia braucht die Zustimmung lokaler Opfergruppen | 2021

Mannitz, Sabine (2021): Gut gemeint genügt nicht: Die Aussöhnung mit Namibia braucht die Zustimmung lokaler Opfergruppen, PRIF Blog, 30.6.2021.

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Remembering Genocide in Namibia | 2021

Reitz, Núrel Bahí/Mannitz, Sabine (2021): Remembering Genocide in Namibia, PRIF Working Papers No. 53, Frankfurt/M.

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Transnationales Erinnern an NS-Gewalt und Zweiten Weltkrieg? | 2021

Mannitz, Sabine (2021): Transnationales Erinnern an NS-Gewalt und Zweiten Weltkrieg? Ansätze und Ambivalenzen, in: Behrmann, Roland; Hunecke, Friedrich; Oppermann, Julia (Hg.), Zeitenwende ‘45. Aufbruch in ein neues Europa?, Frankfurt am Main: Wochenschau Verlag, https://wochenschau-verlag.de/Zeitenwende-45-Aufbruch-in-ein-neues-Europa/41250-Print-41251-PDF.

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Is the work done? Views from Armenians in Germany on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide | 2020

Nikoghosyan, Armenuhi/Göğüş, Sezer İdil (2020): Is the work done? Views from Armenians in Germany on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, 30.4.2020.

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Turkey and the "so-called" Armenian Genocide | 2019

Stout, Sean (2019): Turkey and the "so-called" Armenian Genocide. The politics of denial in European and domestic affairs, PRIF BLOG, 24.9.2019.

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Commemoration of War Dead for Peace Education: Implications from the Case of Germany | 2018

Mannitz, Sabine (2018): Commemoration of War Dead for Peace Education: Implications from the Case of Germany, in: International Journal of Peace Studies, 23:2, 15-32, https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/ijps/vol23/iss2/4.

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Donors

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
www.bmbf.de/en
Regionales Forschungszentrum Transformations of Political Violence (TraCe)
Regionales Forschungszentrum Transformations of Political Violence (TraCe)