Apologies were the subject of an interdisciplinary conference at U of T’s Centre for Ethics on October 20 and 21, and a number of U of T scholars spoke at the conference. Our very own Professor Mark Kingwell explored the style and rhetoric of contemporary celebrity apologies in his talk at the conference.
A trend in celebrity apologies, said Kingwell, is that there is often “no sense of pre-existing remorse.” Celebrity apologizers, rather, seem to be forced by public pressure and their public relations teams to execute the performance of an apology.
“When you’re forced to apologize, it’s not an apology,” said Kingwell.
Other U of T participants at the conference included Patrick Keilty, assistant professor in the Faculty of Information, criminology & socio-legal studies PhD student Mayana Slobodian, and Simon Stern, an associate professor in the Faculty of Law.
While the conference was widely interdisciplinary, with speakers from law, political science, cultural studies, and related disciplines participating, philosophical study was represented well by Daryl Koehn (DePaul University), Cindy Holder (University of Victoria), and keynote speaker Nick Smith (University of New Hampshire).
Panels focused on a number of different topics in public apologies, including apologies to LGBTQ Canadians, apologies for the colonization of Indigenous peoples, and apologies for the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII.