Northwestern Events Calendar


"Absolute Apology, Absolute Forgiveness”: A Talk with David L. Eng

When: Wednesday, May 10, 2023
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM CT

Where: Crowe Hall, 1-132, 1860 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Student - Graduate Students

Contact: Emily Mun  

Group: Asian American Studies Program

Category: Academic


“Absolute Apology, Absolute Forgiveness” comes from the final chapter of Eng’s forthcoming book, “Reparations and the Human,” which examines how political and psychic genealogies of reparation can supplement our conceptions of the human being and human rights after genocide and nuclear holocaust. This talk investigates the history of uranium mining and specifically “Little Boy,” the atomic bomb detonated by the U.S. military over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Much of the world’s uranium supply is mined from indigenous lands, and the uranium for Little Boy, too, came in part from the territories of the Sahtu Dene, an indigenous people in Great Bear Lake, Canada. Ignorant at the time of the intended purpose and destination of the ore they helped to mine, the Sahtu Dene nonetheless felt implicated once they learned of Hiroshima’s fate. In response to the disaster, they sent a delegation to Hiroshima to apologize. Eng will explore the Sahtu Dene’s response to the atomic bombing by extending Jacques Derrida’s writings on “absolute forgiveness” to develop a corollary concept: “absolute apology.”


David L. Eng is Richard L. Fisher Professor of English and Faculty Director of the Program in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Eng is the author of Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans (co-authored with Shinhee Han, Duke, 2019), The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy (Duke, 2010), and Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America (Duke, 2001). He is co-editor with David Kazanjian of Loss: The Politics of Mourning (California, 2003) and with Alice Y. Hom of Q & A: Queer in Asian America (Temple, 1998).

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