Apologizing for Genocide: In/Justice, Reconciliation, and Indigenous Peoples in Australia (and the United States)

Monday, December 4, 2017 - 6:30pm

Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, the Mae and Benjamin Swig Professor in Jewish Studies and the founding Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at University of San Francisco

On February 13, 2008, as his first official act as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd formally apologized to the country’s indigenous communities for their prolonged maltreatment. In particular, in “the Apology” Rudd brought attention to Australia’s infamous “Stolen Generations,” countless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) children kidnapped from their families by the government and placed with whites in an effort to “modernize” and “civilize” them. In asking indigenous Australians to forgive the unforgiveable, to begin healing the unhealable, Rudd also looked ahead, adding “The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by mov[ing] forward with confidence to the future.” In this action, the Australian government began an incredibly ambitious process of reconciliation and forgiveness. But was the Apology successful? What has it meant to indigenous Australians? To those of non-indigenous descent? If it was successful, can it be reappropriated to other places, such as the United States?

Hahn Tapper has been at USF since 2007. An educator for more than two decades, his primary academic interest is the intersection between identity formation, social justice, and marginalized groups.

Photo credit: Barbara Ries © 2013.

Location: Building 360 Conference Room

Co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity