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Theoretical Explorations Module IX
This course will analyze understandings of justice in “post-conflict” societies.
We will critically examine the theoretical literature on “transitional justice” to investigate how, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, scholars and citizens alike have relegated evil to the past, permanently deferred justice to the future, and framed the present as a time between wrong and right.
We will see the political effects - on nationalism, sovereignty, and citizenship - of the dominant, post-Cold War discourse of human rights through a variety of cases, including post-war America, India, Germany, South Africa, Yugoslavia, and Lebanon. The course will be structured by a detailed reading of Robert Meister’s recent work, After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights (2010). A series of secondary readings drawn from disciplines such as art history, literature, political theory, history, philosophy, jurisprudence, and theology will augment the exposition of the core text.
Students will learn to think critically about the uniquely post-Cold War temporality of evil and justice, when evil’s end, far from precipitating justice, postpones it indefinitely.