Recent attempts to confront difficult history appear to be dividing the United States and entangling communities in cultural and legal conflict. But historians, social justice activists, and many others argue that grappling with the sins of the past, and the way they reverberate into the present, is a necessary foundation for reimagining the future. What are the best and most creative ways societies are using history to make a better tomorrow?
Artists and scholars visit Zócalo to discuss how society might draw strength and coax vision from the shortcomings and failures of its collective past.
“How Should Societies Remember Their Sins?” is a two-year editorial and event series supported by the Mellon Foundation. Blending scholarly essays and personal stories, we will explore how societies around the world collectively remember their transgressions and make attempts at repair, and how we might imagine new paths forward. Register here for updates on events in the series.
More Events in this Series
What Kind of Monuments Do We Deserve?
Beyond debates over keeping statues up or tearing them down and changing the names of schools and streets lie more fundamental questions at the intersection of personal and public memory. We know how to honor and memorialize idealized heroes; we know less about remembering complicated, real people, who did extraordinary things—let alone how to remember historical figures who changed the …
Why Isn’t Remembering Enough to Repair?
The Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel did not believe in collective guilt. Instead, he asked for repair, and for holding the post-World War II generation of Germans responsible “not for the past, but for the way it remembers the past. And for what it does with the memory of the past.” Other societies and communities have taken up Wiesel’s call—at the …