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The role and challenge of historiography in dealing with the past

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Abstract

Historic Justice and truth commissions play a central role in the aftermath of political transitions - particularly in a country like Argentina, where they can shape the collective memory of the dealing with the previous dictatorship. All of these institutions provide an official recognition of the past and help to deal with past atrocities. This recognition can thus be understood to be vital to the reconciliation process. It is often considered to be symbolic compensation for the victims and aims to provide a unified narrative of the past. It is especially surprising, therefore, that when dealing with the past, historiography is so poorly represented amongst institutions of transitional justice. In my presentation, I would like to explore the role of historiography in transitional justice and its relation to the rest of society. I will first address some the reasons for the limited participation of historians in theses processes and try to answer how these deficiencies can be overcome by introducing a perspective on dealing with the past, that introduces a transdiciplinary and holistic approach.