The ethical and legal ramifications of past atrocities are a subject of controversy in many countries. For all the differences between commemorative cultures, all these national conversations have one thing in common: Be it in Rwanda or Cambodia, Japan or the United States, every debate about guilt and responsibility will eventually focus on the experience of other countries. What is the purpose of these comparisons? Can one nation’s way of dealing with the consequences of mass terror, genocide, or war crimes serve as a positive or negative model to other nations? Why do some models seem to attract more attention than others — for example, the German culture of atonement or the South African-style truth commission? Do national models compete with each other? Or does every society have no choice but to find its own unique way of dealing with its past? Can countries really learn from each other?
Participants: Aleida Assmann, Konstanz; Jürgen Aßmann, Hamburg; Murat Belge, Istanbul; Hans Otto Bräutigam, Berlin; Wendy Doniger, Chicago; Alexander Etkind, Cambridge; Mischa Gabowitsch, Potsdam; Konstanty Gebert, Warsaw; Gerd Hankel, Hamburg; Sune Haugbølle, Copenhagen; Fatima Kastner, Hamburg; Stephen Marshall, Austin; Jacqueline Nießer, Regensburg; Anson Rabinbach, Princeton; István Rév, Budapest; Sveta Roberman, Berkeley; Franziska Seraphim, Boston; David Shulman, Jerusalem; Claudia Weber, Hamburg; Kirsten Weld, Waltham; Christiane Wienand, London