Against the backdrop of the 400th anniversary of forced African migration in the United States, in this edition of Wilson Center NOW we speak with Arnaud Kurze, Wilson Center Global Fellow, and Vjeran Pavlakovic, a former Wilson Center Fellow, who reflect on U.S. memory politics and the responsibility to reckon with one of the country’s dark chapters in history. Given their expertise in memory studies and transitional justice, a field that addresses post-conflict and post-authoritarian accountability and reconciliation issues, they provide a comparative perspective by drawing parallels between different global case studies, notably the Balkans and the Middle East and North Africa regions.


Vjeran Pavlaković is an Associate Professor in Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Rijeka, Croatia and a former Title VIII-supported Research Scholar with the Global Europe Program. He received his Ph.D. in History in 2005 from the University of Washington. He has published articles on the politics of memory, World War Two commemorations, war criminals and war crime tribunals, and democratization in Croatia, and co‐edited the book Serbia since 1989: Politics and Society under Milošević and After (2005), published by the University of Washington Press. Recent publications include “Flirting with Fascism: The Ustaša Legacy and Croatian Politics in the 1990s,” in Una storia balcanica: Fascismo, comunismo enazionalismo nella Jugoslavia del Novecento (2008), “Red Stars, Black Shirts: Symbols, Commemorations, and Contested Histories of World War Two in Croatia,” an NCEEER Working Paper (2008), and “The Commemorative Culture of Bleiburg, 1990–2009,” in Kultura sjećanja: 1945 (2009). In addition, Vjeran is a participant in the drafting of the REKOM (regional truth commission for the former Yugoslavia) Statute.

Arnaud Kurze is Assistant Professor of Justice Studies at Montclair State University and a Global Fellow with the History and Public Policy Program at the Wilson Center. His scholarly work on transitional justice in the post-Arab Spring world focuses particularly on youth activism, art and collective memory. He is currently leading a Digital Humanities Project on political change in the Mediterranean basin and is co-organizing the Cres Summer School on Transitional Justice. Since 2013 he has been a Visiting Scholar at New York University. He is widely published and the editor of New Critical Spaces in Transitional Justice: Gender, Art & Memory. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the American Council on Learned Societies and Sciences Po.


John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming.