PubPol 495.004

PubPol 495.004: Policy Seminar: Politics of Official Public Apology

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PUBPOL 495 (Policy Seminar) is for students currently enrolled in the Public Policy Undergraduate Program only, with no exceptions. Enrollment is by permission only.

What are public and official apologies? How are official public apologies related to the complex politics of difficult social questions of national democratic membership, memory, and constitution? How national dialogues on reparations are mediated and publicly articulated over time shapes not only the nation-state but also how members, groups, and citizens see themselves in relation to each other. How do individuals, communities, nations, and states mediate, acknowledge, remember, deny or ignore their violent national pasts and conflicts? What has been the role of transitional justice mechanisms such as truth commissions and acts of official public apology in shaping reparative frameworks as part of the democratic state’s quest for greater social cohesion after conflict? Why is it important to understand how the intersecting structural relations and imbalances of power, domination, and subordination inherent to conflict dynamics can be addressed through national public policy and reparative frameworks? What are the historical, social, economic, and policy challenges faced by states after extended periods of administrative violence and internal conflicts? How do the politics inherent to the collective, institutional, group, and collective interests strategically influence the ways in which the policy frameworks and corresponding social, political, and economic outcomes are resolved politically? These national membership questions remain as a constant part of the moral national dialogue, the public policy process, the political and legal culture of the state. In order to address these questions, this comparative public policy seminar will explore the currency and economics of transitional justice mechanisms, reparative processes, and official apologies in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the USA.