Clarifying the Past: Understanding Historical Commissions

Cira Palli-Aspero

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Framed under the historical dialogue paradigm, the book provides a robust understanding of historical commissions as state-sponsored bodies of inquiry, with focus on the organisational strategies, methods, and challenges of their work. It aims to understand why historical methods of analysis are chosen; and how historical commissions operate in conflicted and divided societies.
Through the analysis of a comprehensive database, the book maps thirty-eight different contexts in which historical commissions have been established. It looks at the role of the state in crafting historical knowledge, with special attention to state’s mechanisms to come to terms with the legacy of the past. Finally, it examines the process of institutionalisation of historical commissions to explore how the social and political epistemology conditions and determines the work and outcome of the commissions.
This book significantly advances on the knowledge about the historical commissions’ strategies setting a robust theoretical and methodological framework for the work of future commissions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2021


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