Latest News

The Violent Past in Literature and Film

This podcast episode details the many narratives portrayed throughout film and literature during and following the Holocaust. These narratives can influence public opinion which can in turn influence perceptions of events. Film and literature become means of expressing different visions of the past and contribute to shaping collective history. They were both used as political propaganda and means of conveying the truth decades after the war in the case of certain European countries. These European countries’ coming to terms with the past and their reckoning with the complicity of their political officials and population in the atrocities committed during the Second World War was delayed by political forces’ efforts to control collective memory of the war in the name of restoring national unity and countrywide reconciliation. Memories of the past were articulated through fictionalized movies, documentary films, poems, autobiographies and history books.

To download a full transcript, visit humanrightspodcast.sandbox.library.columbia.edu.

Read More

Reconciliation and Restorative Justice

Throughout time and across different regions of the world, people have withstood countless injustices. Though the violence, unfortunately, remains a constant, the means by which these crimes are addressed vary throughout history. A relatively recent method by which governments attempt to atone for such crimes has been through different forms of reconciliation and restorative justice. In this podcast, Youdane and Daniel will be discussing the history of truth and reconciliation commissions and the circumstances through which they were implemented in various countries such as South Africa, Peru, and Sierra Leone. After, the speakers will discuss the legacy of the “original sin”, slavery, in the United States and analyze how the racist structures of the past manifest in the present. The podcast hosts will delve into the Black Lives Matter movement and its significance as well as the position of the Biden administration on the question of reparations and transformative justice as a means of addressing white supremacy and the legacy of slavery in the country.

To download a full transcript, visit humanrightspodcast.sandbox.library.columbia.edu.

Read More

White Guilt and the Rwandan Genocide

In this podcast, May and Tenley take a look at Rwanda pre- and post-genocide. Using the case of Paul Rusesabagina, known as a hero for saving hundreds of people throughout the genocide and now having been arrested on terrorist charges, they delve into how the country has progressed since the genocide in 1994 by looking at the transitional justice mechanism of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Directed at a Western audience, the two podcasters hope to clear up the romantic image of Rwanda dominant in the West, which developed through the creation of the ICTR. Viewed often as a solution to all problems (and Western guilt), the ICTR should be looked at critically; the achievements for the international legal regime and domestically for Rwanda diverge dramatically. May and Tenley hope to tell the audience about major cases throughout the trial that set important precedents for international law, but will simultaneously highlight the shortcomings of the ICTR as a tool of transitional justice.

To download a full transcript, visit humanrightspodcast.sandbox.library.columbia.edu.

Read More

Genocide Memorialization

On several metrics, the two nations appear very similar to one another. Both Germany and Turkey, Berlin and Istanbul, the major urban centers, are both among the most frequently-visited cities on the planet. Both serve as central hubs for financial, political, and cultural institutions. The two cities even established a formal urban partnership in 1989. And yet, in the space of historical memory, genocide commemoration, and transitional justice, Germany and Turkey could not diverge more drastically. Throughout Germany, but especially in Berlin, the systematic extermination of European Jewry during the Second World War is all but unmissable. It is visibly acknowledged and remembered in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, as well as the stolpersteine enmeshed in the pavement. Through its very topography, Germany cultivates a political and historical culture of solemn remembrance and atonement. In Istanbul and across Turkey, the genocide of the Armenians by Ottoman forces during the First World War has been submerged from public view. In the early 1920s, a memorial to the victims of the Armenian genocide was destroyed under mysterious circumstances. And, by the end of the century, the Turkish state had committed itself to a historical narrative of genocide denial by constructing a memorial on the border with Armenia to commemorate the Turkish victims of a genocide that never took place. Through a comparison of these two countries, linked by a shared genocidal past, this podcast will explore the challenges to developing a comprehensive and honest historical narrative amidst the political utility of denial and falsehood.

To download a full transcript, visit humanrightspodcast.sandbox.library.columbia.edu.

Read More

Gatekeeping Queer History

Drawing first on personal experiences, Lance Nelson and Priyanka Narahari discuss growing up queer in environments that concealed the existence of non-heteronormative narratives – ultimately leaving them without the means to contextualize their own identities. Distanced by geography, time, and culture, they attempt to bridge their childhood stories from the United States and India to uncover the consequences of gatekeeping LGBTQ history at the expense of LGBTQ youth. Recognizing now the continued, systemic, international efforts taken to suppress and silence the historic figures, places, and events that we have come to understand as central to a global LGBTQ culture, Lance and Priyanka guide listeners on an intimate journey of self-discovery, reconciliation, intergenerational trauma, and activism in their effort to not only reflect on an erased past, but to also highlight the potential impact of providing fair and respectful LGBTQ education to all students, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.

To download a full transcript, visit humanrightspodcast.sandbox.library.columbia.edu.

Read More

Memory Laws

Memory Laws are intended to honor victims, to protect citizens, and to hold perpetrators accountable. In theory, memory laws would accomplish all of these goals without consequence. In reality, memory laws can prohibit free speech, promote false state-sponsored narratives, and unnecessarily limit democratic participation. In this podcast, we will examine how memory laws are lived out and experienced in Germany and how memory laws could be implemented in the United States. With the help of a guest speaker, we will delve into key questions such as: Do memory laws genuinely improve the health of a society? Do memory laws protect democracy and pluralism? Join us in discussing whether memory laws are an essential human rights tool, and if they fall short of true human rights goals.

To download a full transcript, visit humanrightspodcast.sandbox.library.columbia.edu.

Read More

Oral History

As digitization increased, the reach of history broadened. Who gets to decide what is included in the official record of our past and what is worth remembering? This podcast explores the history and formalization of oral history, how it gives marginalized people a voice, and the challenges in collecting testimonies in the context of post-conflict societies. We recognize the authority given to people when we make their voice part of history. We investigate how interviewing survivors of atrocities, such as the Srebrenica genocide during the Bosnian War, can give validity and space to the previously oppressed. When dealing with perpetrators of violence who deny their past crimes, testimonies of survivors can corroborate and contextualize other forms of evidence. We attempt to address questions such as: how does talking about trauma affect the survivors, what are the challenges of transcribing an oral account, what’s the value of incorporating subjective accounts in history, can individual voices challenge a dominant interpretation of the past, can oral history be an effective tool for post-conflict reconciliation. As we look into history collection changing, we will see shifts in how history is retold and preserved. Reconciliation and changes in the collection of history push us towards a more inclusive and multicultural society.

To download a full transcript, visit humanrightspodcast.sandbox.library.columbia.edu.

Read More
css.php