The Summer School offers a variety of lectures on current transitional justice issues, including the following themes:

Burnt-out_NDP_HQ-BW copyDemocratic Transitions, Human Rights, and the Role of External Actors

How can confronting the past be reconciled with the "messiness" of democratic transitions? Is there an inherent tradeoff between the push for justice and the desire for stability? What role, if any, can the West in particular play in pushing for transitional justice and human rights more broadly during democratic transitions? This theme explores such questions through lectures, films, reading, simulations, and discussions, with a special focus on post-communist Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Japan.


25404535623_b77522ffcd_z-BW copyJustice and Accountability

This theme explores core transitional justice mechanisms such as war crimes trials, lustration, amnesties, reparations, and truth commissions. Thus, it includes transitional justice in both post-conflict and post-authoritarian contexts. Cases are drawn from a broad range of geographic contexts that include the former Yugoslavia, East Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa.  Students will gain a strong grasp of choices and dilemmas in relation to the design, implementation, and impact of these various transitional justice mechanisms and will critically reflect on the effectiveness of these mechanisms across the case studies.





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Politics of Cultural Memory

Commemorations and other political rituals are key components of a nation’s cultural memory, crucial for the construction and reinforcement of ideological, ethnic, economic, gender, and other identities. The construction of cultural memory and cultural identities are central themes of memory studies which analyze the different processes of remembrance and forgetting that occur at the individual, group and societal level. Research in this field has rapidly developed through an interdisciplinary approach over the last twenty years. Students will analyze the leading trends in memory studies through a number of comparative case studies and learn how the politics of the past affects transitional justice initiatives and efforts of reconciliation in post-conflict societies.



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Social Movements, Arts and Youth in Transitions

Many dictators and authoritarian regimes have been toppled by protests that started in the streets. The fall of several heads of state during the Arab Spring, and the ouster of leaders in the Balkans and Central Europe illustrate this trend. Thus, protesters, often including a large number of youth and artists, have occupied a crucial role in defining the future direction of democratic transitions in post-conflict and post-authoritarian countries. This theme explores questions related to the impact of youth activists and art, such as performance art and street art, among others, to shed light on the power politics and transformations within transitioning societies. 


Conflict, Migration and Identity Politics

The Syrian civil war that broke out after peaceful protest during the Arab Spring  has fueled a global refugee crisis that has challenged not only political institutions in European Union member states, but also sparked public debates on questions about identity, nationhood and cultural integration in developed countries worldwide. The different issues in this theme are examined through a variety of analytical perspectives, including advocacy, ethnography, history, law, political science and sociology to critically reflect on this pressing international phenomenon.

Here's a list with a selection of sample lectures:

 Historical Introduction to the former Yugoslavia, Croatia and Rijeka
Vjeran Pavlakovic

Although the Cres Summer School program provides a comparative analysis of transitional justice initiatives and methodologies from around the world, the hosting of the school in Croatia provides a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the Rijeka, the Kvarner islands, and the broader history of the former Yugoslavia. The lecture focuses on political myths, representations of the past, and the memoryscape of the region to set the context for the complex historical background of the events in the 1990s that led to the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The lecture will be complemented by walking tours of Cres town and the city of Rijeka, as well as references to cultural history (visual arts, films, cultural heritage, music, food) throughout the duration of the summer school.

Politics of Memory (1): Methodologies and Case Studies
Vjeran Pavlakovic

This lecture introduces key concepts related to memory studies, with a focus on monuments, public spaces, commemorative practices and other political rituals, and institutional memorialization (museums, archives, educational policies, etc.). Students will be given an overview of collective remembrance theories, which will be illustrated through a number of case studies from the former Yugoslavia, other European countries, and the United States. The lecture and case studies will reflect the most recent global events relevant to memory politics, and students will be encouraged to contribute examples from their own experiences with representations of the past or institutionalized historical narratives. The lecture will include a comparison of both top-down and bottom-up processes, as well as a discussion about the role of mnemonic actors and the media in constructing a society’s collective memory. Students will also have a chance to learn about some of the newest methodologies in analyzing the politics of memory, including digital humanities tools developed in the FRAMNAT project at the University of Rijeka.

Politics of Memory (2): Transitional Justice and Commemorations, Symbolic Reparations, and Historical Narratives
Vjeran Pavlakovic

Building upon the theories and case studies outlined in the first lecture on memory politics, this lecture illustrates how memory studies can applied to Transitional Justice initiatives, both for research purposes as well as suggestions for practitioners. The lecture will address issues such as inclusive commemorative practices in post-war societies, the role of symbolic reparations, the challenges of historical revisionism, and the role of war crimes trials in constructing narratives of the past. Students will also have the opportunity to do group work in devising post-conflict strategies of symbolic reparations, drawing upon the theories and case studies covered in the earlier lectures.

The Coming Out of Memory: The Holocaust, LGBT Rights and Dealing with the Past
Arnaud Kurze

This lecture discusses the challenges of establishing a collective memory for gay victims of the Nazi terror in World War II and examines formidable social tensions in memorialization and identity-building processes. It raises important questions, including why a public voice for crimes against sexual minorities in World War II emerged only hesitantly? Drawing on historical LGBT memorialization processes in Germany and beyond, Dr. Kurze argues that behind a seemingly unified push for recognition, internal cleavages within the LGBT community provoked tension and created a politicized memory of the past.

 Youth, Art and Transitional Justice: Emerging Spaces of Memory after the Jasmine Revolution
Arnaud Kurze

This talk explores the creation of alternative transitional justice spaces in post-conflict contexts, particularly concentrating on the role of art and the impact of social movements to address human rights abuses. Drawing from post-authoritarian Tunisia, it scrutinizes the work of contemporary youth activists and artists to deal with the past and foster sociopolitical change. The findings demonstrate that the emergence of this new fragile spatiality is nevertheless contingent on contested visions and memories of Tunisia’s secularist and Islamist political traditions. 

Transitional Justice After the Arab Spring
Mietek Boduszynski

The Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 brought hope for transitional justice to the most repressive region of the world. Yet, transitional justice in the Middle East and North Africa, along with democratization more generally, has been an elusive goal. This lecture will review the background of the Arab Spring, discuss the role that calls for transitional justice played in the uprisings, and explain why transitional justice has been difficult to implement.

External Support for International Criminal Justice
Mietek Boduszynski

Absent independent enforcement powers, international tribunals such as the ICC, ICTR, and ICTY depend on the diplomatic support of supportive states {“surrogate enforcers”) to fulfill their mission. But such states have to balance other commitments and, interests, and goals. Under what conditions does the international community support the mission of global justice? This lecture engages the issue by examining how surrogate enforcers have supported (or not) the ICC and ICTY in particular. 

Transitional Justice in North Africa: Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria
Jessica Mecellem

This talk compares the transitional justice trajectories of the three countries which have each embarked on new TJ mechanisms since the early 2000s. It also addresses the dynamics of gendered violence and gendered justice mechanisms which have been evoked in these cases by practitioners and scholars.

Transitional Justice vs. Post Conflict Justice, Defining Terms and their Consequences
Jessica Mecellem

This talk discusses the analytical distinction between TJ and Post Conflict justice cases, why they are sometimes studied together, and what conclusions can be drawn from their comparison. It introduces the concept of contested democracies, by way of discussion on the United State's legacy of slavery, and Turkey's "Kurdish problem." The talk is meant to pose the question "what type of cases should be included in the study of transitional justice?" (This one can also draw on the work I have been doing with Sewanee on the legacy of slavery at our institution, in the broader context of US universities dealing with this question).

Legacies of Violence and the Arab Spring
Christopher Lamont

This lecture will explore how legacies of violence have produced wide variations in approaches to transitional justice in countries affected by the Arab Spring. In particular, it will examine how diverse actors advanced justice demands under authoritarian-rule, armed conflict, and post-authoritarianism. It will argue that transitional justice cannot be understood outside the context of contested visions of post-colonial statehood.

Leadership Analysis in International Criminal Investigations
Christian Axboe Nielsen

Much has written about the trials and judgments at international criminal tribunals and courts, but how do prosecutors at these institutions organize information and evidence in a way that it creates structured indictments and detailed understandings of how mass violence was committed? Based on experiences from the ICTY and the ICC, this lecture provides an introduction to leadership analysis, which involves collecting, reviewing and disseminating analysis of how leadership figures in civilian, military and police institutions committed and/or refused to prosecute the most serious international crimes.

Competitive Collective Victimhood
Christian Axboe Nielsen

This lecture will examine what happens when we cease to focus on individual victims and instead become preoccupied with the collective suffering of groups – particularly the group to which we belong. How and why can the sense of collective victimhood be deployed competitively and aggressively in politics? What consequences does competitive collective victimhood have for international criminal justice and for transitional justice as a whole? And how can societies move beyond competitive collective victimhood?​


Program Archive