Inaugural Lecture by Jane and Aatos Erkko Professor Molly Andrews: "The promise and limits of Political Forgiveness", 22 October at 5 pm

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies hosts Molly Andrews as the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor in Studies on Contemporary Society during the academic year 2019-2020. The Inaugural Lecture by Professor Andrews gives University of Helsinki audiences a chance to get to know Andrews' work and to learn about her longitudinal research project on politics of forgiveness and East German memories of revolution.

Time: Tuesday, October 22, at 5 pm

Venue: Language Centre, Festive Hall (Fabianinkatu 26, 3rd floor), Reception after the lecture at HCAS Common Room (Fabianinkatu 24 A, 3rd floor)

Title of the lecture:  The promise and limits of Political Forgiveness


Although there is widespread agreement with the argument that Hannah Arendt made more than half a century ago, that forgiveness is ‘one of the human faculties that make social change possible’, beyond this, there is little consensus of what it means. Applying a narrative structure to this discussion, there is a lack of clarity around questions of who, what, where, when, and why to forgive. The lecture will explore the politics of forgiveness in East Germany, where these issues have been hotly contested for more than twenty-five years. The data examined suggest that the fraught process of forgiveness embodies not consensus but contest, as people disagree on key questions such who has the right to forgive whom, for what, how long the window for the opportunity of forgiveness stays open, and even why these questions matter, not only for individuals but for the whole of society.

The lecture is free and open to all. It will be streamed and recorded and available on the HCAS Youtube Channel.

Short bio:

Molly Andrews is Professor of Political Psychology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London. Her books include Lifetimes of Commitment: Aging, Politics, Psychology, Shaping History: Narratives of Political Change (both Cambridge University Press), and Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life (Oxford University Press). She serves on the Editorial Board of five journals which are published in four countries, and her publications have appeared in Chinese, German, Swedish, Spanish, Czech, and German.

Molly Andrews' profile on the HCAS website 

News item about Molly Andrew's research

More information:

Project Planner Kaisa Kaakinen, +358 2 941 22493,

Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor Molly Andrews