How should we commemorate the victims of past atrocities, heroic individuals, or emblematic national and social events?
Recent controversies such as the removal of Confederate monuments in the United States demonstrate just how central such acts of collective remembrance are to our conception of contemporary societies.
Memory laws enshrine state-approved interpretations of these crucial historical events, and have forged both national identities and integration processes in Europe and beyond.
In this book colloquium, a panel of speakers will discuss the recent book Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History (edited by U. Belavusau and A. Gliszczyńska-Grabias) and explore both the nature and role of legal engagement in historical memory. They will address a number of key questions, such as:
When do memory laws conflict with values of democratic citizenship, political pluralism, or fundamental human rights?
Are the punitive laws inevitably abusive?
Are the non-punitive ones mostly benign?
Are there optimal ways for states to propagate historical memory?
Against the background of mass re-writing of history in different parts of the world, the panel will attempt to draw answers to these issues, and map out a relatively new and foundational area of international law and transitional justice.
This book colloquium is organized in collaboration with the Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspectives (MELA) Project and the Centre for Law, Democracy, and Society at Queen Mary University of London.