AUP student taking a photo of the Seine during Orientation.

George and Irina Schaeffer Center

CANCELED - The Shadows of Political Forgiveness – Professor Molly Andrews

University Room: David T. McGovern Grand Salon (C-104)
6, rue du Colonel Combes, 75007 Paris
Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 18:30 to 20:00


Although there is widespread agreement with the argument that Hannah Arendt made more than half a century ago, that forgiveness is ‘one of the human faculties that make social change possible’, beyond this, there is little consensus of what it means. Applying a narrative structure to this discussion, there is a lack of clarity around questions of who, what, where, when, and why to forgive. This paper will explore the politics of forgiveness in East Germany, where these issues have been hotly contested for more than twenty-five years. The data examined in this article suggest that the fraught process of forgiveness embodies not consensus but contest, as people disagree on key questions such who has the right to forgive whom, for what, how long the window for the opportunity of forgiveness stays open, and even why these questions matter, not only for individuals but for the whole of society.

Molly Andrews is Professor of Political Psychology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London and for the academic year 2019-2020, she is the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include political narratives, the psychological basis of political commitment, political identity, and patriotism and intergenerational dialogue. Her books include Lifetimes of Commitment: Aging, Politics, Psychology Shaping History: Narratives of Political Change (both Cambridge University Press), and Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life (Oxford University Press). She serves on the Editorial Board of five journals which are published in four countries, and her publications have appeared in Chinese, German, Swedish, Spanish, Czech, and German.


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