History, Fictions, and the Politics of Justice

Saba Mahmood
Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley
Lecture: "Azazeel and the Politics of Historical Fiction: Sectarian Dramas
Ancient and Modern"
This paper analyzes the recent debate and struggle that
erupted over the publication of the prize winning novel Azazeel
between Christians and Muslims in Egypt.  Based on historical events
in fourth century Alexandria, including the Nestorian controversy and
the killing of the Greek mathematician Hypatia, the novel ignited
fierce polemics about what it means to account for these events in the
present.  This paper tries to think through the relationship between
fiction and history, and politics and religion, through the figural
importance of the character Azazeel so central to all three
monotheistic faiths.

Mahmood Mamdani
Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology,
Columbia University
Lecture: Beyond Nuremberg: The Historical Significance of the
Post-Apartheid Transition in South Africa
Nuremberg is the template through which we have come to define
responsibility for mass violence in the post-Cold War period.  Whether in
the Balkans or in Rwanda or Congo, international criminal trials are the
preferred response to extreme violence.  The International Criminal
Court claims to follow the precedent of Nuremberg.  That precedent is
that violence must be criminalized without exception, its perpetrators identified
and tried in a court of law.  Professor 
Mamdani offers a critique of the Nuremberg
model from the vantage point of the political negotiations that led to
the South African transition from apartheid and suggests an alternative
way of thinking of mass violence, as political rather than criminal.

This event is being organized by the Department of Political Science, with
support from the Nicholson Center for British Studies, the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory and the 3CT Generational Change collaborative. It is also
being co-sponsored by the International House Global Voices series.

  • Begins: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 4:00pm
  • Ends: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 6:30pm
  • Location:
  • Address:

View This event in the University of Chicago Calendar