Debating Reparations for Slavery

THU, OCT 10, 2002 (1:23:54)

Glenn C. Loury of Boston University and Melissa Nobles of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology debate the pros and cons of slavery reparations. How do you put a price on 300 years of injustice? The legacy of slavery in the United States continues to shape life and society for all Americans. The controversial arguments surrounding slavery reparations is proof that this country is still struggling with how to address and overcome the repercussions of slavery. Does this country owe a financial debt to the descendants of black slaves? Who should pay and receive reparations? How much is owed? Instead of repairing damage, might such payments polarize communities and create new racial tensions?

+ BIO: James Hirsch

James Hirsch is the author of Cheating Destiny, Hurricane, Riot and Remembrance, and Two Souls Indivisble. These stories cover different people, in different places, at different times; but all of his books have one thing in common: they are all about survival.

+ BIO: Glenn C. Loury

Glenn C. Loury is currently university professor, professor of economics, and director of the Institute on Race and Social Division at Boston University. Previously he has taught economics at Harvard, Northwestern and the University of Michigan. He earned a BA in mathematics at Northwestern University and holds a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Loury is a distinguished academic economist. He has made scholarly contributions to the fields of welfare economics, game theory, industrial organization, natural resource economics and the economics of income distribution. He has presented his research before numerous scholarly meetings and academic societies throughout the world. He has been a scholar in residence at Oxford University, Tel Aviv University, the University of Stockholm, the Delhi School of Economics, the Institute for the Human Sciences in Vienna, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Professor Loury has received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support his work. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, and was elected Vice President of the American Economics Association for 1997. Professor Loury has had the honor of giving the University Lecture at Boston University in Fall 1996 (“The Divided Society and the Democratic Idea,”) and the prestigious DuBois Lectures at Harvard University in Spring 2000 (“The Economics and the Ethics of Racial Classification.”) His collection, One by One, From the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America won the 1996 American Book Award and the 1996 Christianity Today Book Award. His most recent book, The Anatomy of Racial Inequality, appeared in February 2002 from Harvard University Press.

+ BIO: Melissa Nobles

Melissa Nobles is Associate Professor of Political Science. Professor Nobles teaching and research interests are in the comparative study of racial and ethnic politics, and issues of retrospective justice. Her book, Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics (2000), examines the political origins and consequences of racial categorization in demographic censuses in the United States and Brazil. The Politics of Official Apologies, (2008), comparatively examines the political uses of official apologies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. It explores why minority groups demand such apologies and why governments give them (or not). Nobles holds a BA in history from Brown University and an MA and PhD in political science from Yale University. Shades of Citizenship received the Outstanding Book Award for 2001 from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, as well as an Honorable Mention for the Ralph Bunch Book Award from the American Political Science Association. Nobles has also been a Fellow at Boston University’s Institute on Race and Social Division (2000-01) and Harvard University’s Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study (2003-04).

Revolutionary Spaces
Slavery and the Making of America Series