Upcoming activities


'Restitution of Colonial Collections in Europe: Possibilities, Challenges, Dilemmas' 

TAPAS/Thinking About the Past is pleased to announce its conference on the restitution of colonial collections, on December 2-3, 2019 in Ghent.

Following the recent repatriation of human remains from Germany to the Namibian and Australian governments and French president Emmanuel Macron’s statement that the return of African objects in French museums is a ‘priority’, claims for the restitution of colonial acquisitions have gained momentum in Europe. Various social and cultural groups as well as states demand the return of human remains, archives and cultural objects in colonial collections to which they claim cultural, religious, historical or biological affinity.  This conference explores the motivations and the implicit philosophical convictions that underpin many restitution-claims and the responses to them.  

Registration closed. For questions, e-mail 

To download the conference brochure, click here. Pour télécharger la brochure de la conférence, veuillez cliquer ici

Click here to view all practical info. 

Veuillez cliquer ici pour la version française.

TAPAS & CARAM DEBAT (4 DECEMBER, 2019, 19-21u)

'Restutitie van koloniale collecties in België: Juridisch vraagstuk, politieke uitdaging, of morele plicht?' 

Europese overheden en musea worden de voorbije jaren in toenemende mate geconfronteerd met vraagstukken over de herkomst en de teruggave van objecten en menselijke resten in Europese museumcollecties. Welke vragen tot restitutie leven er precies in België en in Congo, Rwanda en Burundi? Zijn er al officiële vragen tot teruggave geformuleerd? Welke verschillende posities leven er over restitutie in de geadresseerde instellingen en onder politici?

Op 4 december organiseert TAPAS een gratis publiek debat over deze vragen. Locatie: Blandijnberg 2, Auditorium 1 (Jan Broeckx).


'Practicing History in Super-Diverse Societies: Possibilities, Challenges, Dilemmas'

TAPAS/Thinking About the Past is pleased to announce its workshop and reading group series for 2019-2020. 

As our societies become increasingly 'super-diverse', so do various ways to engage with the past. Within the public sphere, collective tools to deal with a ‘super-diversity’ of ‘historical cultures’ are often felt to be lacking, as is reflected in inabilities to deal with difficult (genocidal, colonial, religious) pasts and the formation of counter-histories and -identities. This specialist course will start with a theoretical introduction to the concept of ’super diversity’ in relation to history and memory, to then explore the use of history in four super-diverse 'contact zones': schools, the academy, heritage sites, and museums.

Click here to view the full programme and all practical info.

To inscribe, send an email to

You can watch videos of past lectures on the TAPAS YouTube Channel!

People who want to present their research or suggest activities are warmly invited to contact us.

Past activities 

  • Conference "(Dis)Claiming Pasts: Ownership, Responsibility and Contestation", 14/12/2017 - 15/12/2017, Ghent University 
  • Lecture by Petra James, "The expulsion of Germans in contemporary Czech novels as an attempt at a 'reconciliation historiography'", 01/06/2017, Ghent University
  • Lecture by Malin Arvidsson, "Compensation of irretrievable matters: state redress for involuntary sterilisation and abuse in out-of-home-care for children", 26/04/2017,  Ghent University
  • Lecture by Hans Ruin, "The origin of burial and the archeological record", 13/03/2017,  Ghent University
  • Workshop with Chris Lorenz, "History, identity and collective memory", 09/03/2017,  Ghent University
  • Lecture by Tyson Retz, "The history and function of empathy in historical studies", 20/01/2017,  Ghent University
  • Lecture by Kate Temoney, "When killers become victims: genocide and religious mythoi", 10/01/2017,  Ghent University
  • Debate, Lecture Series and Reading Groups on Colonial Legacies in the Low Countries (2015-2016)

Zwarte Piet

Zwarte Piet

  • Lecture Series on History, Historical Dialogue and Reconciliation - Promises, Criticism & Dilemma's (2014-2015)
    • 03/11/2014: Timothy Ryback – "The Politics of Memorialization:  Victim Sites versus Perpetrator Sites"
    • 18/11/2014: Valerie Rosoux - "Memory versus Reconciliation: dealing with festering wounds"
    • 01/12/2014: Catherine Chalier - "Two philosophers facing the history of the 20th century: Levinas and Ricœur"
    • 04/12/2014: Ed Jonker - Over historische excuses, morele genoegdoening en verzoening - Gastcollege in het kader van het vak Theoretische Geschiedenis (Masteropleiding Geschiedenis) - 13-15u30 AUD C Blandijn
    • 10/02/2015: Peter Romijn - "Historians are not alone. War crimes, politics of memory and professional  engagement"
    • 19/05/2015: Claire Norton & Mark Donnelly - "Thinking the past politically: Palestine, Power and Pedagogy"
    • 26/05/2015: Murat Çelikkan – Screening of Bûka Baranê

  • Workshop Transitional Justice, History and Memory 25 June 2014: Michael Humphrey (University of Sydney, Australia) and Estela Valverd(Macquarie University, Australia) - "Amnesty, Memory and Transition: Reburials of the Past in Spain and Uruguay" [10h-12h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]  

    Followed by an afternoon presentation of ongoing UGent research projects by TAPAS members Lore Colaert, Tessa Boeykens and Gisele Iecker de Almeida + feedback session lead by Michael Humphrey and Estela Valverde. [13:00h-15:30h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]
  • Lecture series "The Historian and the Judge"

    • 29 January 2014: Nina Schneider (University of Konstanz, Germany) - "'Transitional justice' in Brazil? Conceptual and empirical concerns from a historian’s perspective" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

    • 13 February 2014: Thijs Bouwknegt (NIOD Amsterdam) - "History beyond a reasonable doubt. Unraveling past atrocity in international criminal trials?" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

    • 12 Maart 2014: Pieter Lagrou (Université Libre de Bruxelles) - “The Gospel of the superiority of the present over the past? Reclaiming the critical potential of history in the era of human rights” [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

    • 16 April 2014: Hannah Franzki (University of London, Birkbeck College) - "Between memory and Eingedenken: some comments on the Politics of Time in International Criminal Justice" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 11 December 2013: Prof. Dr. Willem de Haan (VU University Amsterdam) - "Knowing what we know now’: Problems of anachronism and judgment of past international crimes" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 12 December 2013: Prof. Dr. William Gallois (Exeter University, UK) - Guestcollege on non-Western philosophies of history [13h20-16u00; Blandijn (Blandijnberg 2) - Auditorium C] (In collaboration with the course of 'Theoretical History')

  • 20 March 2013: Dr. Martijn Eickhoff (Radboud University Nijmegen) - "Rawagede, het Nederlandse Mỹ Lai?" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 19 February 2013: projection documentary 'Mostrame' (2006) about the last Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983) and its effects on contemporary Argentina. The documentary will be presented by its maker Anneleen Hermans. [15h-17h30; Film-Plateau. Paddenhoek 3

  • 22 February 2013: Prof. Dr. Maarten van Dyck (Ghent University) - "Introduction to the work of Michel Foucault" [15h30-17h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003

  • 23 January 2013: Dr. Nanci Adler (Center for Holocaust Studies, Amsterdam) - “Communism’s ‘Bright Past’: Loyalty to the Party despite the Gulag” [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 14 December 2012: workshop with Prof. Dr. Wulf Kansteiner (SUNY Binhamton) on the theme 'Turning National Guilt into Transnational Political Capital: German Political Elites and the Legacy of World War II in Europe' [13h30h-17h30; Ghent University, Faculty of Economics, ground flour, Auditorium VI (T), Sint-Pietersplein (

  • 13 December 2012: Prof. Dr. Wulf Kansteiner (SUNY, Binghamton, NY) - Guestcollege on the theory of history [13h-15u00; Blandijn (Blandijnberg 2) - Auditorium C] (In collaboration with the course of 'Theoretical History')

  • 14 November 2012: Thijs Bouwknegt (NIOD, Amsterdam) - "Unraveling atrocity. Transitional justice experiments in Rwanda and Sierra Leone" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 10 October 2012: Dr. Vladimir Petrovic (NIOD, Amsterdam) - "Clio takes the stand: Historians as Expert Witnesses in the Age of Transitional Justice" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 15-12-2011: Prof. Dr. Frank Ankersmit - "De waarheid  van de historische representatie" [14h-15u30; Blandijn (Blandijnberg 2) - Aud D] (In collaboration with the course of 'Theoretical History')

  • 2-12-2011: Prof. Dr. Kalle Pihlainen (Åbo Akademi University; Finland) -  "History writing and the challenge of complex representation" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 24-11-2011: Sarah Vanagt - "Het verleden op de tast"  [13h-15h30; Blandijn (Blandijnberg 2) - Aud D] (In collaboration with the course of 'Theoretical History')

  • 9-11-2011: Prof. Dr. Steven Vanden Broecke - "Astrology, historicity, and care for the self. The case of Marcus Cicero's De divinatione (45 BC)". [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 26-10-2011: Dr. Emiliano Acosta - "Ideeën voor een geschiedenis van de filosofie vanuit agonistisch perspectief" [12h30-14h; UFO (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35) - Room 110.003]

  • 28-01-2011: Berber Bevernage – “History by parliamentary vote. History, ethics and politics in the Lumumba-commission.”

  • 17-12-2010: Aurélie Van de Peer - "De dynamiek van verandering in hedendaagse modekritiek"

  • 26-11-2010: Sarah Posman – “How Special is Charles Olson's 'Special View of History'?”

  • 29-10-2010: Broos Delanote – “De historische conditie: over de geschiedfilosofische bijdrage van Paul Ricoeur” (12.30)

Finished Reading Groups

  • 25/11/2014: Discussion on RICOEUR (P.), "Chapter 2: The Exercise of Memory: Uses and Abuses", In: Memory, History, Forgetting.
    !! RESCHEDULED to Tuesday 2 December! We meet from 12h30-14h00 at the UFO, room 110.003 (first floor, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35, Ghent). 

  • 16/12/2014: Discussion on CROCKER (D.A.), "Punishment, reconciliation and democratic deliberation", In: BARKAN (E.), KARN (A.) (eds.), Taking Wrongs Seriously. Apologies and Reconciliation, pp. 50-83.

  • 13/01/2015: Discussion on DE BAETS (A.), Historical Imprescriptibility, In: Storia della Storiografia, 59-60 (2011), 128-149.

  • 24/02/2015: Discussion on MACLACHLAN (A.) "The philosophical controversy over political forgiveness", In: STOKKOM (B.A.M.) (et. al., eds.) Public Forgiveness in Post-Conflict Contexts.

  • 17/03/2015: Discussion on RÜSEN (J.), "How to Overcome Ethnocentrism: Approaches to a Culture of Recognition by History in the Twenty-first Century", In: History and Theory, Vol. 43, No. 4, Theme Issue 43: Historians and Ethics (Dec., 2004), pp. 118-129.

  • 05/05/2015: Discussion on WILSON (R. A.), Anthropological Studies of National Reconciliation Processes, In: Anthropological Theory, September 2003, 3, pp. 367-387.

  • 11 June 2014: discussion on Howard Zinn, “What is Radical History?” [11h00-12h30; Library Rozier - Vleugel Magnel, Room "Borges"]. Discussion followed by pizza lunch if you like to join!

  • 2 July 2014: discussion on Justin Champion, "What are historians for?" [Time and place to be confirmed].

  • 16 July 2014: discussion on Joan W. Scott, "History-writing as critique". In: Jenkins, Munslow and Morgan, "Manifestos for History" [Time and place to be confirmed].

  • 30 July 2014: discussion on Peter Toohey, "The cultural logic of historical periodization". In: G. Delanty and E.F. Isin (eds.), "Handbook of Historical Sociology" [Time and place to be confirmed].

  • 13 August 2014: discussion on George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, "The new age". In: Hegel, "Political writings", trans. Nisbet [Time and place to be confirmed].
  • 5 February 2014: discussion session on Dipesh Chakrabarty, “History and the Politics of Recognition” [12h30-14h30; Bluesette - Sint-Kwintensberg 85]

  • 12 February 2014: discussion session on Martin Wossner, “Reconsidering the Slaughter Bench of History: Genocide, Theodicy, and the Philosophy of History" [12h30-14h30; Bluesette - Sint-Kwintensberg 85] 

  • 26 February 2014: discussion on Gabrielle Spiegel, “Memory and History: Liturgical Time and Historical Time” [12h00-14h30; Bluesette - Sint-Kwintensberg 85] 

  • 19 March 2014: discussion on Eelco Runia, “Burying the Dead, Creating the Past” [12h00-14h30; Bluesette - Sint-Kwintensberg 85]

  • 2 April 2014: discussion on Ryan Vieira, “Connecting the New Political History with Recent Theories of Temporal Acceleration: Speed, Politics and the Cultural Imagination of Fin de siècle Britain” [12h00-14h30; Bluesette - Sint-Kwintensberg 85]

  • Friday 1 March 2013: Helge Jordheim "Against Periodization:Koselleck’s Theory of Multiple Temporalities" In: History and Theory, 51 (2012) 2, pp. 151-171. [12h30; Bluessette: Sint-Kwintensberg 85, 9000 Gent‎]
  • Friday 15 March 2013: Jürgen Habermas, "Modernity's Consciousness of Time and Its Need for Self-Reassurance." In: The Philosophical Discours of Modernity. MIT Press, 1990, pp. 1-22. [12h30; Bluessette: Sint-Kwintensberg 85, 9000 Gent‎]
  • Friday 29 March 2013: Alexandre Escudier, 'Temporalisation' and Political Modernity. A Tentative Systematization of the Work of Reinhart Koselleck. In: Fernández Sebastián  Javier (ed.), Political Concepts and Time. New Appraoches to Conceptual History. Santander, Cantabria Univesity Press, 2011, 131-177. [12h30; Bluessette: Sint-Kwintensberg 85, 9000 Gent‎]
  • Friday 12 April 2013: Veronica Tozzi, The Epistemic and Moral Role of Testimony. In: History and Theory, 51 (2012) 1, pp. 1-17.
  • Friday 26 April 2013: Hayden White, "Politics, History, and the Practical Past." In: Storia della Storiografia, 61 (2012), pp. 127-134. [12h30; Bluessette: Sint-Kwintensberg 85, 9000 Gent‎]
  •  Friday 10 May 2013: MArk Salber Phillips, "Rethinking Historical Distance: From Doctrine to Heuristic." In: History and Theory, 50 (2011), pp. 11-23. [12h30; Bluessette: Sint-Kwintensberg 85, 9000 Gent‎]


Discussed text: "L'archéologie du savoir/The Archeaology of Knowledge"

Participants: Broos Delanote; Kenan Van De Mieroop; Zoe Claeys; Jelten Baguet; Egon Bauwelinck; Anton Froeyman; Ruben De Roo; Britt Dams; Berber Bevernage.


  • Friday 22 Februari 2013: Indroduction by Prof. Dr. Maarten van Dyck. See agenda above for more details. [13h; Bluessette: Sint-Kwintensberg 85, 9000 Gent‎]
  • Friday 8 March 2013: 


discussed text: "The Idea of History"

Participants: Anton Froeyman, Emiliano Acosta, Sarah Posman, Dunja Seselja, Boris Demarest, Broos Delanote, Christian Strasser, Eric Schliesser, Tjerk Gauderis


Discussed text: "De sublieme historische ervaring/Sublime Historical Experience"

De Certeau

Discusssed text: "l'Ecriture de l'Histoire/The Writing of History"

Participants: Berber Bevernage, Anton Froeyman, Christophe Madelein, Broos Delanote, Aurelie Van De Peer, Kenan Van De Mieroop, Jasper Rigole


Discussed text: "Negative Dialektik"

Next meeting: 

  • 14 November: Thijs Bouwknegt: Unraveling atrocity. Transitional justice experiments in Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

Çelikkan on the documentary 'Bûka Baranê'