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date: 21 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Coming to terms with an imperial past has involved difficult and often divisive questions of how far the inhabitants of former imperial powers should accept responsibility for the deeds of their predecessors, how far back into the past one might go to remedy such injustices, and what happens when the reparative demands of injured parties conflict with the security and well-being of others. This chapter looks at a range of cases and claims for restitution, reparation, and apologies in order to consider how the imperial past has entered into the public domain, the selectivity of imperial memories, and processes of reconciliation. After discussing the historical conjuncture in which demands have arisen, this chapter explores three types of ‘reparative politics’: apologies and expressions of regret for colonial-era actions, restitution of heritage objects in metropolitan collections, and monetary compensation for the perceived crimes of colonialism.

Keywords: Empire, restitution, apology, compensation, heritage, genocide, injustice, memory, reparations

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