Photo: Paul Arps via CC BY 2.0

Absent Memory and Transitional Justice

The Absent Memory and Transitional Justice project explores the way in which countries reconcile with their pasts and absent memory’s significant yet underspecified effects on political and social development.

Absent memory exists where states and societies choose to emphasize and embrace certain aspects of the past while ignoring or distorting other aspects — often involving gross human rights abuses. What fills in or replaces this absent memory is sometimes nostalgia, closely tied to nationalism. Through the convening of experts and original research, the Human Rights and Security Initiative explores:

  • The way in which countries reconcile with their pasts;
  • Absent memory’s significant yet underspecified effects on political and social development;
  • The relationship between absent memory and contemporary human rights abuse.