The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices

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9780393048865: The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices
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Exploring the global politics of restitution from 1945 Germany to present-day Bosnia.

How do nations and aggrieved parties, in the wake of heinous crimes and horrible injustices, make amends in a way that acknowledges wrongdoing and redefines future interactions? How does the growing practice of negotiating restitution restore a sense of morality and enhance prospects for world peace? Where has restitution worked and where has it not? The Guilt of Nations explores this increasingly important dynamic in world politics today. Beyond its moral implications, restitution reflects a critical shift in political and economic bargaining. While preserving individual rights, restitution also enables victimized groups to receive growing recognition as groups. Elazar Barkan traces instances of historical crimes, such as the incarceration of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II, the sexual abuse of "comfort women" by Japanese soldiers, and the recent controversy over the financial dealings between Swiss banks and Nazi Germany. He argues that, as countries including the United States, Australia, and New Zealand come to recognize past injustices toward indigenous peoples within their borders, both governments and minority groups are compelled to redress the history of colonialism and redefine national identity. While restitution is not a panacea, this ever-spreading trend represents a new moral order in world politics.

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From the Publisher:

"Both an invaluably detailed catalog of various groups' past and present claims for restitution and a theoretical consideration of the idea's practicality and morality, this book will no doubt take its place as the starting point for a full understanding of these highly complex issues."—Jonathan Groner, Salon

"A remarkably lucid and even-handed account . . . Barkan makes a persuasive case that, despite all the difficulties, the recent vogue for apologies and restitution should be welcomed."—Economist

About the Author:

Elazar Barkan is chair of the Cultural Studies Department and associate professor of history at Claremont Graduate University.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780393350357: The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices

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ISBN 10:  0393350355 ISBN 13:  9780393350357
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000
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9780801868078: The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices

Johns ..., 2001
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