Associate Professor Aaron Hann Tapper

Associate Professor Aaron Hann Tapper

2013 Fulbright Senior Scholar

“In ‘the Apology,’ Australia began an incredibly ambitious process of reconciliation and forgiveness. But was it successful? And, if so, can this act be reappropriated to other places in need? Does this model have the potential to transform the world?” 

Prof. Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, Chair and Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Francisco, has won a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to come to Monash University and the University of Melbourne for six months. He will work on issues around reconciliation and forgiveness, focusing in particular on the Apology made by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in February 2008, when he formally apologized to the country’s indigenous communities for their prolonged maltreatment.


“The last half century has seen powerful, new developments in the field of inter-communal reconciliation and forgiveness,” Aaron said.

“Countries like Australia have started to take ownership over past wrongdoings, committing themselves to not repeat government-sanctioned abuses.

Between December 2013 and June 2014 I will conduct research on the Apology and its potential to heal communities in non-Australian contexts.

During the six months of the research grant I will primarily focus on the first aspect of this project, the Apology and its aftermath. There is nowhere but Australia to properly conduct this research.

The primary actors in this performance of political reconciliation live in Australia, indigenous and non-indigenous people alike. Further, most scholars who have written about the Apology specifically and ATSI communities generally are also based in Australia.”

Aaron has a BA in psychology from Johns Hopkins University; a degree in religious studies from Harvard University Divinity School and a PhD in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the Mae and Benjamin Swig Chair in Jewish Studies and Director of the Jewish Studies and Social Justice program at the University of San Francisco; Co-Editor, Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and has held numerous prestigious fellowships, such as the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, a Fulbright-Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, and the Harvard University Frederick Sheldon Travelling Fellowship, among others. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and reading books.