Reading Group Comparative Transitional Justice

This reading group originated from a discussion forum held at the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Center in 2022, called “(Im)Possibilities of a Comparative Approach to Transitional Justice”

This reading group originated from a discussion forum held at the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Center in 2022, called “(Im)Possibilities of a Comparative Approach to Transitional Justice” (link). The aim of this reading group is to enable an exchange between students from Austria, South Africa and Taiwan, to discuss the implementation of transitional justice (memory politics, reparations, accountability) in the three countries, identify (potentially common) problems and contemplate together about solutions to combat the ongoing global trend of polarization.

By being a member of this reading group, there is the possibility to participate in a study tour to South Africa, which is planned to take place in August 2023. Because of the funding situation at the moment, it is however unsure whether the trip can be realized in the near future. More information about the conceptualization of the study trip can be found here. If you would like to apply to participate in the study trip, please fill out this application form and submit it to Aleksandar Novakovic via e-mail.

We are planning to meet once a week online and discuss a text or book chapter of about 20-30 pages per week. Except for reading the assigned readings and participating actively in the discussion, there will be no additional preparation work for the participants (e.g. giving a presentation). The working language is English.

The reading group is planned to start in the first week of April. In the first month, we are going to read selected chapters from Antjie Krog’s “Country of My Skull”, which is considered one of the classics on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Further preliminary selected readings can be found in the list below. All readings will be provided digitally to the participants, without the need to purchase any texts.



Selection of additional material: 

The material has been divided into the following three categories: 

(A) Academic Literature

(N) Novels, Fiction, or Memoirs

(D) Documentaries and Movies


South Africa

  • (A) Christian Gade, A Discourse on African Philosophy: A New Perspective on Ubuntu and Transitional Justice in South Africa. London: Lexington Books, 2020.

  • (A) Tshepo Madlingozi, “On Transitional Justice Entrepreneurs and the Production of Victims”, Journal of Human Rights Practice 2/2, 2010, pp. 208–228.

  • (A) R.W. Johnson, South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid. London: Abrahms Press, 2010, pp. 272-319.

  • (N) Tony Eprile: The Persistence of Memory (2004)

  • (D) Melanie Simons: Cape Town. Beyond the Beauty (2019)

  • (D) Justin Chadwick Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom (2013)



  • (A) Heidemarie Uhl, "From Victim Myth to Co-Responsibility Thesis: Nazi Rule, World War II, and the Holocaust in Austrian Memory”, in Richard Ned Lebow, Wulf Kansteiner and Claudio Fogu (eds.): The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe. New York: Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 40-72.

  • (A) Thomas Berger, War, Guilt, and World Politics after World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 82-122.

  • (A) Claudia Leeb, “Austria's Repressed Guilt in Theory and Practice: Personal Encounters”, in Vincenzo Pinto (ed.): Remembering the Holocaust in Germany, Austria, Italy and Israel. Leiden: Brill, 2022, pp. 25-39.

  • (N) Stefan Zweig: Die Welt von Gestern / The World of Yesterday [1942]

  • (D) Ruth Beckermann: The Waldheim Waltz (2018)

  • (D) Andreas Dresen: Gundermann (2018) [film about informants in the GDR]


  • (A) Wu Naiteh, "Transition without Justice, or Justice without History: Transitional Justice in Taiwan", in Taiwan Journal of Democracy 1/1 (2005): pp. 77-102.

  • (A) Dominic Yang, The Great Exodus from China: Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Modern Taiwan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, pp. 259-277.

  • (A) Huang Cheng-Yi, "A Noble Dream Undelivered: The Quest for Transitional Justice During Tsai Ing-wen's First Term", in Gunter Schubert and Chun-yi Lee