The Age of Apology: Facing Up to the Past

Overview

In a turnabout of the cynical belief that might makes right, nations now see fit to issue apologies to peoples and countries they have wronged. We live in an age that seeks to establish political truth, perhaps best exemplified by the creation of truth commissions in societies seeking to emerge from dictatorial pasts. The most noteworthy result of these efforts has been the near-universal realization that a society will not be able successfully to pass into the future until it ...

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Overview

In a turnabout of the cynical belief that might makes right, nations now see fit to issue apologies to peoples and countries they have wronged. We live in an age that seeks to establish political truth, perhaps best exemplified by the creation of truth commissions in societies seeking to emerge from dictatorial pasts. The most noteworthy result of these efforts has been the near-universal realization that a society will not be able successfully to pass into the future until it somehow deals with the horrors of its past.

A number of Western states and institutions have sought to come to terms with their relationships to non-Western states and peoples. Powerful actors and institutions are apologizing to the relatively powerless. What do these apologies mean? Are they an indication of a new international order, either politically or as they relate to international law? Or are these apologies fleeting and insignificant? In The Age of Apology twenty-two law, politics, and human rights scholars explore the legal, political, social, historical, moral, religious, and anthropological aspects of Western apologies in an attempt to answer these questions. Conversely, a nonapology might be as important to study, and several chapters discuss the absence or refusal of apology and how this might be interpreted.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Well written, well analyzed, and well referenced. It will be the most comprehensive book on public apologies. Anyone who is interested in the importance of public apologies will turn to this book."—Aaron Lazare, author of On Apology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812220872
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Series: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Gibney is Belk Distinguished Professor and Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. He is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of several books on international affairs and human rights, including Problems of Protection: The UNHCR and Refugees at the Beginning of the 21st Century and Five Uneasy Pieces: American Ethics in a Globalized World. Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann is Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of many books, including Economic Rights in Canada and the United States, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press. Jean-Marc Coicaud heads the United Nations University Office at the United Nations in New York. Niklaus Steiner is Director of the Center for Global Initiatives at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Apologies and the West Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann Mark Gilmey 1

Part I Law, Ethics, and the Theory Behind Apologies

1 The Role of Apology in International Law Richard B. Bilder 13

2 Apology, Justice, and Respect: A Critical Defense of Political Apology Janna Thompson 31

3 Historical Injustice and Liberal Political Theory Michael Freeman 45

4 Apologies: A Crass-Cultural Analysis Alison Dundes Renteln 61

5 Elements of a Road Map for a Politics of Apology Jean-Marc Coicaud Jibecke Jonsson 77

Part II Internal Apologies by States

6 When Sorry Is Enough: The Possibility of a National Apology for Slavery Eleanor Bright Fleming 95

7 The University and the Slaves: Apology and Its Meaning Alfred L. Brophy 109

8 The Role of Apologies in National Reconciliation Processes: On Making Trustworthy Institutions Trusted Pablo de Greiff 120

9 Wrestling with the Past: Apologies, Quasi-Apologies, and Non-Apologies in Canada Matt James 137

10 Apology and Reconciliation in New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Process Meredith Gibbs 154

Part III International Apologies of States

11 State Apologies Under U.S. Hegemony Carlos A. Parodi 171

12 "Deliver Us from Original Sin": Belgian Apologies to Rwanda and the Congo Paul Kerstens 187

13 Germany Faces Colonial History in Namibia: A Very Ambiguous "I Am Sorry" Leonard Jamfa 202

14 Words Require Action: African Elite Opinion About Apologies from the "West" Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann Anthony P. Lombardo 216

15 Colonialism, Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Dutch Perspective Peter Baehr 229

16 Is Japan Facing Its Past? The Case of Japan and Its Neighbors Elizabeth S. Dahl241

Part IV Apologies by Non-State Actors

17 Papal Apologies of Pope John Paul II Michael R Marrus 259

18 Rethinking Corporate Apologies: Business and Apartheid Victimization in South Africa Bonny Ibhawoh 271

Part V The War on Terror

19 Apology and the American "War on Terror" Mark Gibney Niklaus Steiner 287

20 The Fourth Estate and the Case for War in Iraq: Apology or Apologia? Jonathan Marks 298

Notes 315

List of Contributors 521

Index 329

Acknowledgments 335

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