The Poetics and Politics of Politics of Past Injuries: Claiming in Reparations Law and in Toni Morrison's novel Beloved

University of Sydney
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
25th Annual Conference of the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2008, pp. 1 - 12
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Why is there such a discrepancy between legal time and historical time? Or rather, whose historical time is tacitly represented and silently justified in legal representations? Whose interests are served by the laws particular fictions and whose injuries are privileged? In exploring these questions I will focus on the 2006 case of In re African- American Slave Descendants, a claim made for reparations for slavery in the U.S. Since the 1980s a number of litigants have filed claims for injuries arising out of slavery and none has succeeded, but these very failures are worth examining for what they reveal about the contemporary inability to reconcile the demands of the past on the present.
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