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University of Massachusetts Amherst

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History Dept., Herter Hall
University of Massachusetts
161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312

Tel. 413.545.1330
Fax. 413.545.6137



The 2012 Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series

Truth and Reconciliation, History and Justice

Haisla totem, Dla-xii-la-yewx, "Steering His People in the Right Direction"

Used with permission of Mr. Cecil Paul Sr.,

Kemano Region, British Columbia


Introduction | Schedule | About the Lecture Series | About Kenneth Feinberg


To view videos from the 2012 Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series, visit our Youtube Channel.

Following the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series on Sports and History in 2011, we introduced the next series in Fall 2012: “Truth and Reconciliation, History and Justice.” This series focused on attempts to foster social healing in the wake of violent and traumatic historical events. The title was meant to raise questions about the complex relationship between seeking truth and studying history and the tension between pursuing reconciliation and striving for justice. We organized speakers, panels, films, and other events to explore these issues around the world and here at home.

The series provided an excellent opportunity to utilize the scholarly resources we have on campus, the rich experiences of the local community (Northampton, for example, was the home of the Greensboro Justice Fund, which helped organize the first Truth and Reconciliation project in the U.S.), and of course the generous financial support from eminent History Department alumnus Kenneth Feinberg. 

Highlights of the 2012 lecture series included talks by keynote speaker James Anaya (U.N. Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People), Reverend Nelson N. Johnson, Liz Ševčenko, and many others.
In collaboration with the 2012 Feinberg Series, during the month of October, the Northampton Committee to Stop the Wars devoted its Friday night free film series to films on Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, Peru, South Africa, and Greensboro, N.C. For details of these events, please visit their Web site.

Coming up: "Indigenous Peoples, Truth and Reconciliation" Symposium, Oct. 2, 2012

Download the full Feinberg Lecture Series schedule for Fall 2012.



Schedule of Events

Symposium: Indigenous Peoples and Truth and Reconciliation
(Tuesday, Oct. 2, Herter Hall 601)

10AM: Current Processes in Canada, Australia, and the U.S.
Chair: Tonya Gonnella Frichner, American Indian Law Alliance

Greg Younging – Professor and Assistant Director of Research for Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission
"TRC in Canada: A Legal Mandate"

Kirstie Parker – Managing Editor, Koori Mail and member of the Board of Directors of Reconciliation Australia
"Reconciliation Australia: A Social Movement"

Esther Altvater – Muskie School of Public Service and MW-SCWTRC
"Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A Collaborative Process"

12:30: Lunch

2:30 PM: Reconciliation or Repudiation? Grappling with the Doctrine of Discovery and Domination
Chair: Tonya Gonnella Frichner, American Indian Law Alliance

Legal Contexts: Peter d'Errico, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Community Contexts: Eve Reyes-Aguirre, Tonatierra
Religious Contexts: Phil Arnold, Syracuse University

Keynote Speaker: James Anaya - U.N. Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People
(Thursday, Oct. 4, 7:00-8:30, Cape Cod Lounge)
“Reconciliation or Just Get Over It: How Should Societies Answer Indigenous Peoples Today?”

Panel: Truth and Reconciliation in Comparative Perspective
(Wednesday, Oct. 10, 4:00-6:00, Cape Cod Lounge)
Chair: Jacqueline Urla, Professor of Anthropology, UMass Amherst
Zine Magubane - Associate Professor of Sociology, Boston College
"Gender and Reconciliation in South Africa: Black Women, White Women, and the TRC"

Patricia Tappatá Valdez - Professor of Law, University of Buenos Aires; Former Director of the Truth Commission for El Salvador, Director of Memoria Abierta, Argentina
"Truth Commissions as the First Step on the Long Road to Justice: Latin American Experiences"
Claire Hackett - Founding Director of the Dúchas Oral History archive, Falls Community Council
"Memory, Truth and Transformation: Processes for dealing with the past in the North of Ireland / Northern Ireland"

Lecture: "Exploring Community Healing in the Aftermath of Violence: Learning from Rwanda"
(Monday, Oct. 15, 7:00-8:30, School of Management 137)
Paula Green - Founder, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, Amherst MA
Professor, School for International Training, Brattleboro VT

Facing the Truth (film on South Africa TRC)
(Wednesday, Oct. 17, 7:00-9:00, Thompson 106)
Discussion to follow with:
John Higginson - Professor of History, UMass Amherst; Research Fellow in the College of Human Sciences and the Department of History at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria



Greensboro: Closer to the Truth
(Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7:00-9:00, Thompson 104)
Discussion to follow with:
Marty Nathan - Survivor of Greensboro Massacre; former director, Greensboro Justice Fund
Adam Zucker - Documentary filmmaker and editor


Lecture: "Seeking Truth, Justice, Equity and Healing in Greensboro, N.C."
(Thursday, Nov. 1, 7:00-8:30, Campus Center Auditorium)
Reverend Nelson N. Johnson - Executive Director, Beloved Community Center, Greensboro, N.C.
Mrs. Joyce H. Johnson, Jublilee Institute Director, Beloved Community Center, Greensboro, N.C.

Greensboro Justice Fund Archives Opening
(Friday, Nov. 2, 4:30-6, W.E.B. Du Bois Library)
Please RSVP to

Panel: Is the U.S. Ready for Truth and Reconciliation?
(Tuesday, Nov. 13, 4:30-6:30, Cape Cod Lounge)
Chair: Manisha Sinha, Professor of Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst
Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, - Founding Director, University of Arkansas Little Rock Institute on Race and Ethnicity
"Continuing Consequences of Slavery and Jim Crow: Building the Bridge We Must Cross for Truth and Reconciliation"

Soffiyah Elijah, - Executive Director, Correctional Association of New York
"Does the U.S. Criminal Justice System Allow for Truth and Reconciliation?"

Liz Ševčenko - Director, Guantánamo Public Memory Project, Columbia University
"Remembering Guantánamo: Confonting Our Permanent State of Exception"

Capstone Panel: History and Truth, Reconciliation and Justice
(Wed., Dec. 5, 4:00-6:00, Cape Cod Lounge)
Rachel Martin, Chair
Assistant Professor of History, UMass Amherst
Vera Schwarcz – Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University
"Thinking About Truth and Historical Trauma in China, and Beyond"

Elazar Barkan - Professor of International and Public Affairs and Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and SIPA Human Rights Concentration, Columbia University
"Historical Dialogue and Conflict Resolution"

John Higginson - Professor of History, UMass Amherst; Research Fellow in the College of Human Sciences and the Department of History at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria
"Truth Losing Its Way: South Africa since the 1994 Elections and the TRC"

About the Lecture Series

Every two years, the UMass Amherst History Department hosts the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series. This year-long series allows students, faculty and visiting scholars to explore a particular theme in depth. The program consists of a series of speakers, panels, classes and other events. The Series is made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass History Department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg (1967) and associates.

Kenneth Feinberg (Diane Lederman/ The Republican)

About Kenneth R. Feinberg

The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass history department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg (B. A., 1967) and associates. Kenneth R. Feinberg grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts, (hometown of boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler)  and received his B. A. in History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1967. A renowned attorney and one of the nation’s leading experts in resolving legal disputes out of court, he served as special-settlement master in a number of major class-action suits involving victims of asbestos, Agent Orange, securities fraud, and the Dalkon shield. Most prominently, Feinberg served as director of the Congressional fund to assist the families of those killed or injured in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He oversaw the distribution of almost $7,000,000,000 and his book, What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (Perseus, 2005), grew out of that experience.
Feinberg has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2002.