The Journal of African American History (JAAH) is planning a Special Issue on “National and International Perspectives on Reparations Issues.” Building upon a conference held at the University of Edinburgh, UK (5–7 November 2015), entitled “Repairing the Past, Imagining the Future: Reparations and Beyond...,” this Special Issue will explore the recent re)emergence of reparations demands and their links to grassroots activism from different national and international viewpoints. In doing so, it will bring the more established U. S. reparations movements into dialogue with those from other countries. Indeed, the long history of black social activism, along with the work of scholars, such as Randall Robinson, Mary Frances Berry, Raymond A. Winbush, Ron Daniels, Charles J. Ogletree, Sir Hilary Beckles, Verene Shepherd, and others, have meant that the case for reparations is well established within the United States and Caribbean context, even if its implementation has yet to be achieved. Conversely, other nation-states (notably within Europe) have proven far more reticent about engaging academically and publicly in reparations debates, despite the fact that international law provides a basis on which to pursue reparations claims. Following upon the JAAH’s Winter-Spring 2012 Special Issue on “African Americans and the Movements for Reparations,” this issue will examine the case for reparations from multiple national and international perspectives. It urges a closer examination of the challenges facing reparations movements within different national contexts, while also seeking to understand how the concept of reparations functions within and beyond national borders. Among the topics to be considered are: 1) the long-standing effects of enslavement upon communities of African descent in and across different nation-states; 2) the emergence of different social movements and activist networks both historically and currently; 3) social media and political responses to reparations demands with reference to specific national contexts; 4) the challenges of constructing legal cases for reparations within and between national and international judicial frameworks; 5) the emergence of alternative conceptions of what is needed for repair in addition to financial restitution at the national and transnational levels.
- reparative justice