Assessing Recognition and Reparation Procedures for Historical Injustice

The Research Project

Dialogics of Justice is a 5-year interdisciplinary research project on recognition for historical injustices. Exploring civil court cases and alternative routes to justice in response to violence and human rights violations, it aims to acquire knowledge on the workings of recognition procedures and asks the question: when do people feel recognized? 

With a team of 3 PhDs, a post-doc and a project assistant, principal investigator Dr. Nicole L. Immler explores civil lawsuits against institutions as the Dutch state, the army, the church and multinationals. Dialogics of Justice is based at the University of Humanistic Studies (UvH) in Utrecht and funded by a VICI-grant from the Dutch Research Council NWO.  

The last decade has witnessed an increasing number of civil lawsuits in the Netherlands filed by people adversely affected by colonial violence/slavery, military missions, sexual abuse and environmental harm worldwide. This turn to the civil court  means that grievances are increasingly considered in legal terms and resolved through monetary compensation, while doing little to address the relation aspects of harm. Research is pointing at the possibility that such recognition procedures may rather stabilize victim/offender identities and naturalize power hierarchies, instead of helping to transform them. 

Dialogics of Justice examines recognition claims as a call for dialogue to explores its social dimension. It aims therewith to answer the urgent need for more knowledge on making recognition procedures more effective and transformative.


Environmental Harm Colonial Violence Civilian Harm Sexual Abuse Social Legal Synthesis