PubPol 495 -001

PubPol 495 -001: Policy Seminar: Apology, Reconciliation, Reparations and Public Policy

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Winter 2010
Credit Hours

Policy seminars are open only to undergraduates enrolled in the Ford School. These small, interdisciplinary courses will focus on particular public policy issues as reflected in the title of the course. They emphasize working in teams, writing, and oral prescription skills. The final product of each seminar will be an extensive policy analysis of the issues being studied, written for an audience of policy makers. In these seminars, students will apply the skills they learn in other courses and have opportunities to interact with policy makers and scholars who are experts on the issue being studied. Nature and description of PUBPOL 495-001, Winter 2010: How do you individuals, communities and nations manage the past? How do society’s who have experienced extreme social trauma and conflict as a part of the new nation’s founding come to terms with the cost of development? What has been the role of transitional justice mechanisms such as truth commissions and public apologies in shaping reparative frameworks as part of the new nation’s quest for greater social cohesion after conflict? How are inherent and intersecting structural relations of power, domination and subordination effectively redressed after constitutional democracies have been inaugurated? What are the psycho-social, socio-cultural and economic challenges faced by nations who have experienced colonization and extended periods of administrative violence during oppressive systems such as apartheid? This comparative public policy seminar will explore the currency of transitional justice mechanisms, reparative processes and public apologies that have come about through long, complex and ongoing civic struggles for indigenous rights in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. The questions of equality, justice and rights so central to nationhood are not so easily settled after the period of conflict has ended. They are a constant part of what is at stake in the political, social, economic, and moral context of the public policy process during the ensuing post conflict phases of democratic consolidation. This course will address how our ability as future leaders, policy analysts and policymakers may be improved by developing a deeper understanding of the complex nature of the politics of location. It will informed by an ongoing reflection on our proximity to violence and the responsibility of an ongoing public engagement with the unfinished business of history. Instructor Bio: Yazir Henri is the Co-founder and Director of Direct Action Centre for Peace and Memory in Capetown, South Africa and, in Winter 2007, was the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School. He is a former anti-Apartheid activist who, as a teenager, became an officer in Umkhonto We Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress when the apartheid government still held power over South Africa and was imprisoned by the apartheid regime. He subsequently testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is a poet, writer, and peace activist. He currently works with former combatants, political prisoners, and torture survivors.