The Unseemly Underbelly of Reconciliation

Novel Alliances

The following is excerpted from my current book project: Settler Reconciliation: Locating Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in “the new international morality”. Feedback and suggestions are welcome in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.

This book is an examination and critique of reconciliation as it populates the post-Cold War landscape as an idealist politic. According to Roy L. Brooks, “we have clearly entered what can be called the ‘Age of Apology’” (3). Now more than ever, governments are embracing models of justice that forgo retribution and work towards facilitating peaceful coexistence in what Jacques Derrida named modernity’s “ceremony of culpability” (29). Since 1990, fifteen nation states have incorporated “reconciliation” into Truth Commissions aimed at redressing historical injustice, while other countries, such as Australia, have built the concept into the national imaginary–and economy–via elaborate displays of regret (sorry days, reconciliation walks, sorry books). But it is no longer clear if reconciliation…

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