Truth Commissions: State Terror, History, and Memory

An issue of: Radical History Review

Truth Commissions
Journal Issue Pages: 188 Volume 7, Number 97 Number: 97 Published: 2007 An issue of Radical History Review
This special issue of Radical History Review looks at the different kinds of history produced by truth commissions organized to investigate political violence, state terror, and human rights violations around the globe and examines how these histories elide or confront social inequality and political violence. The essays consider the tensions implicit in the multiple mandates of truth commissions: to establish historical truths, to recognize the experiences of victims, to effect social and political reconciliation, and to reestablish the legitimacy of the nation-state at a time of market-driven globalization. The issue also addresses difficulties faced by the commissions, such as limitations on the use and nature of evidence, oral testimony, and archival documentation.

Comparative in nature, this collection includes essays on Chile’s long history of amnesties, pardons, and commissions organized to uncover past episodes of political violence; the dissemination and use of the historical findings of the Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification; and internal tensions in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which sought to recover the memories of the victims of apartheid. Several shorter essays offer reflections on U.S. commissions related to the country’s history of racial violence, Cold War imperialism, and Vietnam War atrocities and on the findings of the 9/11 Commission report.

Contributors. Felipe Aguero, Sally Avery Bermanzohn, Alejandro Castillejo-Cuellar, Grant Farred, John J. Fitzgerald, Greg Grandin, Thomas Miller Klubock, Elizabeth Lira, Brian Loveman, Mary Nolan, Elizabeth Ogelsby, Paul Ortiz, Kimberly Phillips-Fein, Charles Walker


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Table of Contents Back to Top

1. Editors’ Introduction–Greg Grandin and Thomas Miller Klubock

2. Knowledge, Experience, and South Africa’s Scenarios of Forgiveness–Alejandro Castillejo-Cuellar

3. Truth, Justic, Reconciliation, and Impunity as Historical Themes: Chile, 1814-2006–Brian Loveman and Elizabeth Lira

4. Educating Citizens in Postwar Guatemala: Historical Memory, Genocide, and the Culture of Peace–Elizabeth Oglesby

5. Introducing: A U.S. Truth Commission?–Greg Grandin and Thomas Miller Klubock

6. A Massacre Survivor Reflects on the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission–Sally Avery Bermanzohn

7. Behind the Veil–Paul Ortiz

8. The Winter Soldier Hearings–John J. Fitzgerald

9. Teaching Radical History

Dictatorship and Human Rights: The Politics of Memory–Felipe Aguero

10. Teaching Truth Commissions–Charles F. Walker

11. The Elusive Pursuit of Truth and Justice: A Review Essay

Review of Annie E. Coombes, History after Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa; Antjie Krog, Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa; Teresa Godwin Phelps, Shattered Voices: Language, Violence, and the Work of Truth Commissions; Dehorah Posel and Graeme Simpson, eds., Commissioning the Past: Understanding South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Fiona C. Ross, Bearing Witness: Women and the Truth Commission in South Africa; William A. Schabas and Shane Darcy, eds., Truth Commission and Courts; The Tension between Criminal Justice and the Search for Truth; Richard A. Wilson, The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Legitimizing the Post-apartheid State–Mary Nolan

12. Many are Guilty, Few are Indicted

Review of In My Country, directed by John Boorman–Grant Farred

13. The 9/11 Commission Report

Review of The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States–Kim Phillips-Fein

14. The Abusable Past–R. J. Lambrose

15. Notes on Contributors

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ISBN Paperback: 978-0-8223-6674-4