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UVa Center for International Studies Global Activities Grant Request Form

Please provide the following information when requesting funds from the CIS for global activities that are relevant to UVa's global mission:

1. Your name, title, department or unit, and contact information:

Lawrie Balfour
Professor, Department of Politics
College of Arts and Sciences

2. The type of grant you are applying for:

University research initiatives or research groups.

3. A detailed description of this project/activity including the purpose, participants, location, dates and other relevant information:

"Does Reparations Have a Future? Rethinking Racial Justice in a 'Color-Blind' Era." This symposium is organized collectively by Deborah McDowell (Alice Griffin Professor of English and Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies), Kim Forde-Mazrui (William S. Potter Professor of Law), and myself. It will take place on March 21-22, 2013. We will hold the keynote address on the evening of March 21 at the Law School; and panels, which will take place all day on March 22, will be held on Central Grounds.

This multidisciplinary conversation will explore the cultural, legal, economic, and political legacies of slavery and Jim Crow, in conjunction with an exploration of the global dimensions of recent reparations struggles. We have conceived of four sessions—"Reparations in Historical Frame," "Reparations and the University," "Reparations and the Nation," "Reparations around the Globe"—during which we aim to examine the range of meanings, questions, controversies, and aspirations the term "reparations" has elicited.

Our initial list of confirmed participants includes experts from Law, History, Political Science, African-American Studies, Economics, Philosophy, and other fields. In addition, we are delighted that our Thursday night keynote speaker is one of the foremost scholars of the politics of reparations: Michael Dawson, John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago and the founding and current Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. To date, we have confirmed the participation of the following scholars:

  • Martha Biondi, Associate Professor of African American Studies and History, Northwestern University
  • Alfred Brophy, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law, University of North Carolina
  • 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, Associate Professor of History, Washington & Lee University
  • Darren Hutchinson, Professor of Law, American University
  • H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr., Associate 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
  • Verna Williams, Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati

Professors Biondi, Crooms, Davis, Lovelace, Nobles, and Walker have all made significant research contributions in the areas of international human rights, transnational reparations movements, and/or comparative political or legal studies. In addition, we have received a tentative acceptance from Ruth Rubio-Marín, Professor of Constitutional and Public Comparative Law at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy..

4. A brief statement on how the project contributes to UVa Center for International Studies' mission, and/or how it has the potential to deepen global learning:

This symposium will contribute to the UVa Center for International Studies' mission insofar as it makes concrete connections between local questions about the presence of the slave past at UVa and in the Commonwealth, on the one hand, and attempts to incorporate reparations as an element of democratic transition around the globe, on the other. Indeed, consideration of reparations has the virtue of moving conversations about race and democracy beyond the U.S. in ways that not only challenge the boundedness of American politics but also offer opportunities to learn from concrete historical experiments elsewhere.

The symposium will offer the University of Virginia an unparalleled opportunity to take a leadership role in the legacies of historic in justice. a wide range of historical, normative, and comparative questions, the sessions will engage scholars from a range of competing perspectives. Historically, we will ask what made reparations to the former slaves and victims of Jim Crow unthinkable in 1865 and in 1965? How did earlier efforts to remove the question of reparations from the realm of the possible illuminate contemporary questions? We will also consider whether the losses of the Civil War, the extension of the welfare state to non-white citizens, and affirmative action programs are examples of reparations. Normatively, we will consider the ethical costs of not taking action and the potential costs of various reparations programs. Comparatively, we will examine the proliferation of reparations efforts around the world and ask how they might inform debates about transitional justice in the U.S.

Our aim in bringing leading scholars to UVa is not to produce a closed-door conversation. In our planning, we will seek to maximize opportunities for meaningful participation by undergraduate and graduate students and the larger University and Charlottesville communities. First, we will structure the Friday panels so that faculty in the College and Law School can coordinate their classes with individual sessions. We will also seek input from colleagues about creative ways to enable students and interested citizens to interact with the visitors, by including student presenters in the symposium and/or inviting them to receptions and meals. Because the symposium will take place toward the end of the spring semester, we have ample time to work with colleagues in our own and related departments.

5. An itemized overall budget and amount requested from CIS:


6. Sources of co-funding (pending and/or received):