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Robert L. Bernstein Symposium at YLS, April 20-21, 2006

THE DEMANDS OF MEMORY: THE PURPOSES, FORMS AND MORAL OBLIGATIONS OF REMEMBERING ATROCITIES

The Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellowship Symposium

The annual Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellowship Symposium will be held on April 20-21, 2006 at Yale Law School.

This year's symposium, "The Demands of Memory: The Purposes, Forms and Moral Obligations of Remembering Atrocities," is focusing on the moral complexity of memory in the aftermath of periods of serious human rights abuses. The call from human rights advocates to the larger political community to memorialize, has led to the construction of monuments and the creation of museums as well as the establishment of institutions such as truth commissions and trials.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will kick off with a staged reading of a play by Etan Frankel called "Truth and Reconciliation." It will be followed the next day by a discussion with current Bernstein Fellows and panel discussions with titles such as "Trials and Truth Commissions as Processes for Remembering," and "Artistic and Popular forms of Memory and Memoralization."

Among the panelists are Dr. Alex Boraine, Chairman of the Board, International Center for Transitional Justice, and former Vice Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa; David M. Crane, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Syracuse University, and former Chief Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone; and Sara J. Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The symposium is sponsored by the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. Paul Kahn, the Robert Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities, is the Center's director, and James Silk, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, is its executive director.

The Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights were established in 1997 to honor Robert Bernstein, the former chair, president and CEO of Random House, Inc. and the founding chair of Human Rights Watch. The fellowships provide financial support to allow two Yale Law School graduates to pursue full-time international human rights work for one year. Former Bernstein Fellows have worked on projects promoting and protecting human rights in such diverse locations as Eritrea, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Thailand, Israel, India and Tibet.

The agenda:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

6:15 p.m.
Faculty Lounge
"Truth and Reconciliation" - A Staged Reading of a Play by Etan Frankel
A staged reading of the play, Truth and Reconciliation, by Etan Frankel
Directed by Rosemary Andress with Morena Baccarin
Produced by Rosey Strub in association with FANG Theatre Company

Friday, April 21, 2006

10:00 a.m.
Faculty Lounge
Discussion with Current Bernstein Fellows
The two current Bernstein Fellows will talk about their work. Sari Bashi ('03) is working in Israel at Gisha, Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement, to represent Palestinians who face restrictions on their freedom to travel within and outside the Occupied Territories. Avani Mehta Sood ('03) is working with the International Legal Program of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) to promote the use of India's public interest litigation mechanism (PIL) to address widespread violations of women's reproductive rights.

1:00 p.m.
Room 127
Trials and Truth Commissions as Processes for Remembering
This first panel will examine problems of memory from the perspective of official institutions as trials and truth commissions. What are the relative costs and benefits of pursuing memory and memorialization though such as compared to popular or artistic representations? How do choices about form, place and time affect the perceived meaning and consequences of the institution? What is the relationship between the legal record and popular memory?

Dr. Alex Boraine, Chairman of the Board, International Center for Transitional Justice, and former Vice Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa
David M. Crane, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, Syracuse University College of Law, former Chief Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone
Lawrence Douglas, Professor and Chair, Department of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College
Jonathan Freiman, Bernstein Fellow 1999-2000, Visiting Lecturer and Schell Fellow, Yale Law School (moderator)

3:15 p.m.
Room 127
Artistic and Popular Forms of Memory and Memoralization
This panel will examine the purposes and forms of memory in artistic and popular representations. How do popular or artistic representations simultaneously shape, sustain and displace collective memory? How is the perceived meaning of a memorial shaped over time by community myths and political realities? What role does the memorialization of atrocities play in the creation of a national or collective identity, and what responsibility does the recognition of this role impose on those who design the institutions of memory? What is the consequence for collective memory of the tension among aesthetic demands and the ability of art to produce "truth"?

Sara J. Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Patricia Valdez, Director, Memoria Abierta
James Young, Chair, Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts
Harlon Dalton, Professor of Law, Yale Law School (moderator)

5:15 p.m.
Alumni Reading Room
Reception