Political Theory Conference as Preparation for Lawsuit


The Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT) hosts several events in political philosophy and theory, including a large annual conference each fall, the MANCEPT Workshops. One of the panels at the upcoming conference is entitled “No Reparation, Without Preparation!” and aims to provide preparatory assistance for the plaintiffs in a proposed lawsuit against three European countries. From the description:

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is proposing to sue three European countries which enslaved Africans in the Caribbean. This follows the Mau Mau’s out-of-court settlement, in which over 5,000 elderly Kenyans received compensation from the UK government, for torture they had suffered at the hands of the British colonial administration.   CARICOM proposes to use the same solicitors – Leigh Day.

However, concerns about CARICOM’s claim have been expressed, by various organisations and individuals, in communities of African heritage, in many parts of the world, including Britain, the Caribbean, and Africa.  For example, members of the Caribbean Pan African Network (CPAN), the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), sections of the Rastafarian Movement, and commentators in the British press have each argued, in various ways, that we must carefully prepare any argument for repair.

In this MANCEPT workshop, we aim to explore what political theorists can contribute to that preparation…

This workshop is part of a longer-term, experimental project, aimed at the co-production of knowledge, by academics and activists who collaborate in their work on reparations.

As far as I know, this is a novel development for academic conferences in political theory and political philosophy (perhaps it is more common in other branches of political science or law). In addition to the academics, six “stakeholders” in the issue will be invited to discuss the ideas presented at the workshop. The organizers are Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman and Maeve McKeown.

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