I've been writing for some time now about the rebirth of writing on reparations. Further to that point I see that there are two new articles on ssrn. Eric Yamamoto has posted "Korean 'Comfort Women' Redress 2012 through the Lens of U.S. Civil and Human Rights Reparatory Justice Experiences." Here is the abstract:
In light of international scrutiny, what might be next steps toward redress for the Korean and other World War II Military Sex Slaves, in terms of strategic framing of their claims to reparatory justice? More particularly, viewed through a lens of American redress experiences, and particularly the U.S. apology and reparations for the Japanese American World War II internment, what might human rights tenets of reparatory justice offer established governments faced with challenges to their legitimacy as democracies in the face of unredressed human rights transgressions?
Redressing the wounds of injustice has become a matter central to the future of civil societies. Whether a country heals persisting wounds is increasingly viewed as integral, (1) domestically, to enabling it to deal with pain, guilt and division linked to its past in order to now live peaceably and work productively, and (2) globally, to claiming legitimacy as a democracy genuinely committed to human rights (which affects a country's standing on international security and responsible economic development.) People and governments -- especially democracies with histories of human rights abuses -- all have a stake in justice that repairs.
This larger stake in democratic legitimacy that a country like Japan has -- especially as it seeks to expand its influence in international security -- lies at the heart of this assessment of strategic future paths toward "Comfort Women" redress.
Atiba R. Ellis has posted "Polley v. Ratcliff: A New Way to Address an Original Sin?" Here is the abstract:
This essay recites the history of the Polley v. Ratcliff litigation and interrogates its relevance for modern considerations of racial inequality in America. The Polley case began in 1850s with the wrongful kidnapping of the children of Mr. Peyton Polley, an emancipated African slave who lived in Ohio. The litigation continued from 1851 to 1859 without clear resolution. Although this incident has been discussed at length by historians, the litigation itself came to a remarkable conclusion on April 6, 2012. On that day, some 162 years after this Dred Scott-era kidnapping, Judge Darrell Pratt of the Circuit Court of Wayne County, West Virginia, entered a decree declaring that Mr. Polley wrongfully kidnapped children — Harrison, Louisa, and Anna — “were, and are, FREE PERSONS as of March 22, 1859."
This declaration represented a monumental historical moment in West Virginia history, and it represents, as this essay will argue, an opportunity to consider the question of what our societal response to slavery and racism has been over time and what it ought to be in the twenty-first century. The essay considers the various modes through which Americans look at the history of slavery and race-race consciousness, racial reparations, and post racialism — and then it argues that the Polley litigation represents a different model for considering the American history of race, a model akin to truth and reconcilliation.
I hope to talk some about both of these articles soon. I also want to mention that UVA's Center for International Studies has a conference on reparations on March 21 and 22 of this year. It is provactively title "Does Reparations Have A Future? Rethinking Racial Justice in a "Color-Blind" Era." While reparations lawsuits have been relatively unsuccessful, there has been some forward progress on reparations legislation -- and also on apologies. So one part of the answer is yes, even as the case for wide-spread reparations action is remote. The speakers include Martha Biondi, Professor of African American Studies and History, Northwestern University; Lisa Crooms, Professor of Law, Howard University; William Darity, Arts & Sciences Professor of Public Policy, Professor of African and African American Studies and Economics, Duke University; Adrienne Davis, Vice Provost, William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law, Washington University; Ted Delaney, Professor of History, Washington & Lee University; Darren Hutchinson, Professor of Law, American University; H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr., Professor of Law, Indiana University; Melissa Nobles, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, MIT; Margaret Urban Walker, Donald J. Schuenke Chair of Philosophy, Marquette University; and Verna Williams, Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati. Here is the complete program.