February 15, 2017
Dealing with the Past: Mapping the Edges of "Historical Dialogue"
Historical dialogue is a growing field of scholarship and practice that engages with the legacy of historical violence and its ties to contemporary politics. It is informed by the recognition that many contemporary conflicts germinate from the memory of past violence, and it is particularly pertinent for the field of conflict transformation and prevention in conflict and post-conflict societies. By its very nature, then, historical dialogue is multidisciplinary, taking place within academic disciplines as well as (but not exclusively) with law, journalism, education, film, art, and literature. As a result, while the term “historical dialogue” has been used in a range of contexts—in scholarship, practice-based research, political interventions, among others—differences persist regarding the precise conceptualization of the term.
The Forum Kritika on Historical Dialogue seeks to map the edges of the field, to disentangle the different readings of the expression “historical dialogue” along disciplinary, regional, religious, ethnic and class lines, to name but a few. While these questions are relevant for the term “historical dialogue” in and of itself, they have emerged in productive and compelling ways as a result of the digital humanities, “Mapping Historical Dialogues Project” (MHDP), developed at Columbia University, and part of the Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network. The objective of this digital project is to map existing stakeholders who are engaged in historical dialogue and who use historical narrative to respond to drivers of conflict or as a means of conflict transformation. The project thus seeks to describe the impact that the memory of sectarian and national violence has on contemporary politics, to establish the norms of historical dialogue, and to explore how this knowledge facilitates work towards conflict transformation, reconciliation, peacebuilding, and democracy promotion, particularly in post-conflict countries.
And yet such goals beg the question of how to define “historical dialogue” in methodological and theoretical terms. This Forum Kritika thus seeks to understand how the term “historical dialogue” is used in different disciplines (e.g., political science, history, theology, literary studies, cultural studies, etc.), and what the relationship is between “historical dialogue” and certain regions or discursive environments. Other possible topics can consider the relationship between the concept of “historical dialogue” and its connection or intersection with terms such as transitional justice, memory studies, peace building, or conflict resolution. Is it designed as an alternative term and if so, what is its particular contribution in both academic and practical terms? In considering, for example, the differences between “historical dialogue” and transitional justice, should one define such differences in analytical terms or normative terms, or both? Additional topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the genealogy of the term “historical dialogue”—when and how it emerged, who has framed the term, and how it has been applied; the relationship between theory and practice regarding historical dialogue work; case studies (in particular, but not exclusively regarding initiatives that appear in the MHDP) and country studies; best practices and the impact of historical dialogue as a conflict transformation mechanism; and the relationship between historical dialogue and accountability.
Contributions should be 7,000 to 8,000 words (MLA style). Include the following elements in the submission: abstract (200 to 250 words); bionote (100 to 150 words); keywords (5 to 7); institutional affiliation and e-mail address. All contributions will undergo double blind peer review. Send contributions and inquiries to the guest editors of the Forum Kritika (cc: email@example.com):
— Ariella Lang (firstname.lastname@example.org)
— Dimitris Kousouris (email@example.com)
Use the subject heading “Forum Kritika on Historical Dialogue.” Deadline is on June 30, 2017.
Kritika Kultura is a peer-refereed electronic journal (indexed in MLA, DOAJ, Scopus, and Thomson Reuters), which is devoted to the innovative, multidisciplinary study of language, literature, culture, and society. The journal can be viewed online at http://journals.ateneo.edu/ojs/kk/