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The Age of Apology
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The Age of Apology
Facing Up to the Past

Edited by Mark Gibney, Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Jean-Marc Coicaud, and Niklaus Steiner

344 pages | 6 x 9
Paper 2009 | ISBN 9780812220872 | $28.95s | Outside the Americas £21.99
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights

"Well written, well analyzed, and well referenced. It will be the most comprehensive book on public apologies. Anyone who is interested in the importance of public apologies will turn to this book."—Aaron Lazare, author of On Apology
In a turnabout of the cynical belief that might makes right, nations now see fit to issue apologies to peoples and countries they have wronged. We live in an age that seeks to establish political truth, perhaps best exemplified by the creation of truth commissions in societies seeking to emerge from dictatorial pasts. The most noteworthy result of these efforts has been the near-universal realization that a society will not be able successfully to pass into the future until it somehow deals with the horrors of its past.

A number of Western states and institutions have sought to come to terms with their relationships to non-Western states and peoples. Powerful actors and institutions are apologizing to the relatively powerless. What do these apologies mean? Are they an indication of a new international order, either politically or as they relate to international law? Or are these apologies fleeting and insignificant? In The Age of Apology twenty-two law, politics, and human rights scholars explore the legal, political, social, historical, moral, religious, and anthropological aspects of Western apologies in an attempt to answer these questions. Conversely, a nonapology might be as important to study, and several chapters discuss the absence or refusal of apology and how this might be interpreted.

Mark Gibney is Belk Distinguished Professor and Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. He is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of several books on international affairs and human rights, including Problems of Protection: The UNHCR and Refugees at the Beginning of the 21st Century and Five Uneasy Pieces: American Ethics in a Globalized World.

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann is Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of many books, including Economic Rights in Canada and the United States, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Jean-Marc Coicaud heads the United Nations University Office at the United Nations in New York.

Niklaus Steiner is Director of the Center for Global Initiatives at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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