SO457      Half Unit
Political Reconciliation

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Claire Moon S287


This course is available on the MSc in Health, Community and Development, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Political Sociology and MSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped.

Course content

The course explores the politics of reconciliation by identifying and examining its key themes, the practices and institutions in which it is embedded and the political subjects of reconciliation discourse. It is an interdisciplinary course that draws upon literature from sociology, law, political theory, anthropology and philosophy amongst others, because any investigation of reconciliation must be approached from a variety of perspectives in order to understand and interpret its wider social and political reach, as well as its limitations. The course introduces students to current research in the field of transitional justice and historical injustice, and draws upon a range of examples from Africa, Latin America, post-communist Europe, Australia and the US. Topics include transitional justice as a field of practice and a field of knowledge; historical injustice - apologies and reparations; state crimes; retributive and restorative justice; perpetration; theology and therapy in reconciliation; memory and atrocity.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

One formative essay in week seven of the MT (does not contribute towards the overall mark for the course).

Indicative reading

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (Penguin Books, 1977); Penny Green and Tony Ward, State Crime: Governments, Violence and Corruption (London: Pluto Press, 2004); Priscilla Hayner, Unspeakable Truths: Confronting State Terror and Atrocity (Routledge, 2001); Michael Humphrey, The Politics of Atrocity and Reconciliation: From Terror to Trauma (Routledge, 2002); Karl Jaspers, The Question of German Guilt (Capricorn Books, 1961); Neil Kritz, Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon with Former Regimes (US Institute of Peace, 1995); Claire Moon, Narrating Political Reconciliation: South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Lexington, 2008); Judith Shklar, Legalism: Law, Morals, and Political Trials (Harvard University Press, 1986); Nicholas Tavuchis & Mea Culpa, A Sociology of Apology and Reconciliation (Stanford University Press, 1991); Richard Wilson, The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Legitimizing the Post-Apartheid State (Cambridge University Press, 2001).


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (30%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Exam will be held during the Summer Term exam session.

Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S219A, no later than 16:30 on the first Wednesday of Lent Term. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.

Attendance at all seminars, completion of set readings and submission of set coursework is required.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills