Gender, memorialization, and symbolic reparations

Brandon Hamber, Ingrid Palmary

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The reified essence of evil in the very being of their bodies, these figures of the Jew, the black, the Indian, and the woman herself, are clearly objects of cultural construction, the leaden keel of evil and of mystery stabilising the ship and course that is Western history. Reparations are the things done or given as an attempt to deal with the consequences of political violence. In line with the approach taken in this volume, and drawing on previous work, we understand reparations in the narrow sense, that is, to refer to “the attempts to provide benefits directly to the victims of certain types of crimes.” This narrow definition of reparations does not include broader strategies such as institutional reform or truth-telling, but it fits neatly with the understanding of reparations as acts or objects, as things done or given. This chapter is concerned mainly with what are termed symbolic reparations insofar as they are granted under the auspices of a massive reparations program. Symbolic reparations may include, for instance, official apologies, the change of names of public spaces, the establishment of days of commemoration, and the creation of museums and parks dedicated to the memory of victims, among others. Naomi Roht-Arriaza refers to these as moral reparations and would include, in addition to the above, assistance in reburials and appropriate rituals, finding missing bodies, and converting of repressive sites into museums. Symbolic reparations are, of course, only one component of a comprehensive reparations program.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Gender of Reparations
Subtitle of host publicationUnsettling Sexual Hierarchies while Redressing Human Rights Violations
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages57
ISBN (Electronic)9780511596711
ISBN (Print)9780521517928
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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