21A.S01 Reparations for slavery and colonization: Contemporary movements for justice Fall 2021

Prof. M. Amah Edoh

Fall 2021

Mondays and Fridays, 9:30am-11am
Units: 3-0-9

Students can petition SOCR (Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement)for HASS-S credit.  A blanket petition for the Fall 2021 semester has been requested on behalf of all enrolled students.



Demands by African and Afro-descended peoples for justice for slavery and colonization are increasingly becoming part of both national and global public discourse, even though reparations movements have been around for several decades. The claims, coming both from formerly colonized nations in the Caribbean and Africa, and from within the US and European nations, are articulated on multiple fronts, including but not limited to: economic reparations, the removal of monuments celebrating imperialism, the restitution of looted artifacts, land-related claims, changes in international development and foreign affairs policy, and changes in language and education policy.

This class examines contemporary movements for justice for slavery in the Americas and European colonization in Africa by addressing: the historical events for which these movements seek redress; contemporary movements’ historical antecedents; strategies currently employed by different movements; the affordances of the various apparatuses being employed (e.g. grassroots activsim, judiciary, policy, institutional, national, supranational...); and the challenges and opportunities these movements face. We will discuss claims for justice from the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and North America. The class will feature guest lectures by scholars from a variety of disciplines (anthropology, history, political theory, museum studies…) and institutions around the world, as well as practitioners (activists, lawyers, artists) currently involved in these efforts. Student projects over the course of the semester will contribute to documenting these movements.