Scribner Seminar Program
Making Things Right
Instructor(s): Larry Jorgensen, Philosophy
Suppose you lost a family member on 9/11. Could you ever forgive the terrorists? This course will be an investigation of forgiveness and reconciliation as ways of restoring peace in the midst of horrendous disruptions of it. Students will read philosophical accounts of the nature of forgiveness; literary representations of forgiveness, such as Ian McEwan's Atonement; and historical expressions of forgiveness and reconciliation, including accounts of the Truth and Reconciliation process after the end of apartheid in South Africa (nicely documented by Deborah Hoffman and Frances Reid in the film A Long Night's Journey into Day). This course will focus primarily on interpersonal forgiveness, the response of one individual to another who has wronged her, but we will also have the opportunity to explore self-forgiveness, forgiveness of groups (e.g., the Pope's apology to Jews for failing to take action against the Nazis), and the relationship between forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice.