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Repairing the Past: Confronting the Legacies of Slavery, Genocide, & Caste

The Gilder Lehrman Center's Seventh Annual International Conference, October 27 - 29, 2005.

Conference Participants
Conference Schedule (online papers)
Conference Photographs


Repairing the Past: Confronting the Legacies of Slavery, Genocide, & Caste
All over the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century, nations and cultures are struggling to heal from, memorialize, adjudicate, or at least understand and explain traumatic pasts. Throughout modern history human exploitation — slavery, caste systems and other forms of official discrimination, war and genocidal violence — have left untold scars on individuals and whole societies. What obligation does the present owe the past? Who or what decides the nature of repair for past wrongs? When historical knowledge, the obligation to remember, and the obligation to seek retrospective justice meet, what are their roots in philosophy, ethics, religion, law, politics, and history? And, how is or has this process of seeking historical justice been different from one culture or nation to another?

This international conference, sponsored jointly by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University and the Brown University Committee on Slavery and Justice, puts history, memory, and justice in conversation among a group of scholars representing many disciplines and several countries. The aim of the conference is to foster a discussion that will inform our own scholarly communities as well as the larger public, and that will lead to further research, teaching, and human rights activity about the world's need to face so many traumatic pasts in a more humane way.


Continuing Education Units
For a fee of $5, credit for 1.475 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be awarded to public high school teachers who attend the conference.  Please inquire about receiving CEU credits at the conference registration table.


Keynote Address:
Given by Mary Frances Berry,
Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and
former chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission


Sessions Include:

  • Slavery, Exploitation, and the Philosophy of Reparations
  • Law and the Politics of Memory, Atonement, and Apology
  • American Slavery and the History of Reparations
  • Germany, Holocaust Memory, and the Idea of Historical Justice
  • Latin America, Slavery, Exploitation, and Historical Justice
  • Caste and Historical Justice in Comparison: India, South Africa, and the United States


Co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies and the Brown University Committee on Slavery and Justice