Critical Legal Conference 2013

Disappearances and Delusions: screening the past

Stream Organisers:
Eugene Mc Namee (Ulster University School of Law) and Peter Rush (Melbourne Law School)

The casual reconciliatory folk-wisdom of “forgive and forget” has given way to the formal reconciliation science of “forgive and remember”, or, to give a sense of relative weight and priority, “remember and forgive”. In some instances the idea is pushed to the point where forgiveness is excised from the picture, and reconciliation is taken to consist in simply remembering correctly, comprehensively and in/as community. This latter idea seems to imply a quantitative measurement of remembering as truth (and truth as remembering) as regards correctness and comprehensivity, and a qualitative notion of remembering as justice (and justice as remembering) when it comes to imagining a community through composing a shared memory in order to pursue a vision of reconstruction. There are, of course, further complications and complexities that could be introduced, but what seems to provide a platform on which all notions rest is the forgetting of forgetting through a casual acceptance of its impossibility except as pathology - forgetting re-coded as denial and repression.

This stream invites contributors to comment on the multiple processes of “coming to terms” “with” “the past”, and (perhaps) to reflect on current discourses and media of reconciliation (and reconstruction) within the framing questions of what denial denies, what repression represses.

Please send paper abstracts of 300 words to Eugene McNamee ( or Peter Rush ( before the 15 June 2013 deadline.

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