Gesprek Voor de Dam: Susan Neiman x Gloria Wekker

How should we commemorate in times of polarisation?

In samenwerking met
Mede mogelijk gemaakt door

On the eve of National Remembrance Day Susan Neiman, American moral philosopher, and anthropologist Gloria Wekker will discuss how to deal with the dark sides of history. How do you take responsibility for the horrors of the past? How should we deal with victimization, reparations and the belief/unbelief in progress?

In her book Learning from the Germans (2019), Susan Neiman, who grew up in a Jewish family in the South of the US and has lived in Berlin since 1982, compares how German and American society deal with their traumatic past. In her new book Left Is Not Woke (2023) she plees for universalism instead of tribalism and criticizes the focus on victimization and the unreparative past within the left movement. What is the best way to collectively face a traumatic past?

Gloria Wekker analyzed in her influential book White Innocence (2016) how the Netherlands has suppressed its history with slavery for years to maintain a positive self-imagery and how that influences contemporary racism.

How do we commemorate a traumatic past within a polarized society? Are we able to process our history into a positive ideal of ‘never again’?

Gesprek Voor de Dam

Elk jaar organiseert De Balie in samenwerking met Theater Na de Dam op 3 mei Gesprek Voor de Dam. Op deze avond gaan we met gasten en publiek in gesprek over wat de herdenking in deze tijd betekent en waar het nog te weinig over gaat.

About the speakers

Susan Neiman (1955) is an American-German philosopher. She acquired her fame by researching our notion of evil.  After professorships at Yale University and Tel Aviv University she has been director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam since 2000.

Gloria Wekker (1950) is a Surinamese-Dutch anthropologist and professor at Utrecht University. She specializes in gender- and postcolonial studies by which she published multiple works and, among others, won the Joke-Smit prize. She has been proclaimed as ‘Women of the Year’ 2022 by Harpers Bazaar.


Susan NeimanFilosoof, schrijver
Gloria WekkerEmiritus Professor Gender Studies
Witte Onschuld, Gloria Wekker (2016), Amsterdam University Press
Links is niet woke, Susan Neiman (2023), Lemniscaat
Wat we van de Duitsers kunnen leren, Susan Neiman (2020), Lemniscaat.