Education PYPA 2012 Courses Role of Historical Truth in Conflict Transformation


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Role of Historical Truth in Conflict Transformation

Role of Historical Truth in Conflict Transformation

Role of Historical Truth in Conflict Transformation

Course instructor: Svjetlana Nedimovic
Working language: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language


Reconciliation is often discussed as the most desired form of conflict transformation within divided societies, conditioned by situating individual and collective memories for the use of a legitimate and widely-accepted narrative which is called the truth about the past. It is thought that on the basis of such conceived narrative it is possible to build harmonic or at least cooperative relations in today’s societies. 

Although this chronological chain of events for reconstructing deeply divided societies seems logical, the order is actually paradoxical: On one side, reconciliation is seen as an imperative in divided societies. On the other, reconciliation is conditioned by the establishment of a universally accepted historical narrative, which is actually only one of the products in the process of reconciliation; if it is possible at all to harmonize all voices when it comes to history. 

Course Description:

The course has two purposes. In terms of substance, its goal is to discuss the status of historical truth in societies and its role within the process of facing the past and as a means of searching for a historical truth within state institutions (judiciary, commissions, academic sphere) as well as within social institutions (creative industry, informal relations). The purpose of the course is to open discussion about the ethical and political status of truth and debate about the mechanisms of establishing and disseminating historical truth, which would neither be hindered by institutionalism in terms of theoretical framing nor by empirical critics of institutionalized forms for searching for the truth. 

The second important aspect of the course is work on participant's essays. The course will provide guidance on participant's writings not only because they are a channel for disseminating gained knowledge, but also because they present an important element of cognitive processes and understanding the world in general.

Note: Writing essays is a prerequisite to attend the course. 

Course Goals:

Theoretical Goals

  • Discussing the issue of the perception of historical truth
  • Discussing the ethical and political status of historical truth
  • Critical approach towards institutionalized and other mechanisms for searching for truth
  • Analyzing informal transformative social capacities in post-conflict periods

Practical Goals

  • Development of writing as a self-reflection, open and unfinished process
  • Development of critical thought within texts and work on texts individually and in groups
  • Adopting critics as a key element in the process of writing and developing the ability to use critics within texts
  • Writing communicative texts outside the disciplinary and experience framework of the author