I'm putting together a new collection called Imperial Debt: Imperial Theft, Postcolonial Repair. It'll be my second book on reparations, the first being my monograph that came out late last year on Morrison’s Beloved.
The new book is an edited collection and focuses on reparations both in national frameworks and also internationally. It is a book on reparations or restorative justice “after” empire, if you will—not that empire is over, rather in the wake of and in consideration of modern empire's longue durée, what kind of economic equilibrations are called for? What does Britain owe South Asia given even just the one incident in which they loaded the entire treasury of the state of Bengal onto a hundred ships and left with it? Far beyond their wrongly charging Haiti “reverse-reparations” for the Haitian revolution, what besides that does France owe to Haiti? What does the U.S. owe African America, mass incarcerated America, endemically police-brutalized America? How even begin to taxonomize the matter of “land reform” in the context of Native North America? Quite apart from civil suits, what is owed to Kalief Browder’s family, Breonna Taylor’s family, Eric Garner’s family, Jacob Blake and his family, in the name of the nation-state? Elsewhere, what does Turkey owe Armenia, what is due numerous African nations for the “scramble” sanctioned by and taken following the Berlin Africa conference? What is the full list of nations where slavery reparations come into play? Beyond the U.S. and what we owe to the descendants of slaves, what Britain also owe to American descendants of the institution? For it was under the British empire—with its laissez faire policy regarding how the colonizers built the colonies—that chattel slavery became the unbridled, brutally savage force in the North American colonies, and later the new colonial republic called the U.S.
This is, in part, a revisionist scholarship that redefines empire as a criminal enterprise, a massive capital campaign founded upon thievery and the appropriation of resources and trade routes belonging to others. And, whether the equilibrations occur, the return of goods, the repayments for stolen trade routes, betrayed treaties, and the mass of additional imperialist appropriations; to whatever extent such assertions of a necessary repairing are heeded or might be successful; the documentation of such debt, the barely or non-started, the unfinished processes of reparative O justice must be represented, must enter the record, the archive, and indeed the conversation.
The idea for the volume is empire as considered through the triptych: theft, debt, repair. Any discipline, any geography, history, empire, any methodology, data, material as long as it is probing and answering these questions in some way. If you are doing relevant work, and are interested, let me know? Few people are doing this work; there is some in Economics, but little besides, shockingly little in Postcolonial studies (my field) where one assumes we’d find much that takes the question of reparations seriously, that considers the matter of a necessary equilibration after empire, necessary given the global distribution of wealth and how it got that way. My first collection (The Economics of Empire), edited with our colleague Michael O’Sullivan, came out in Routledge’s Postcolonial Politics series, and I will submit this one to the same series.
I’d like to have all proposals by end of summer, so we can say 8/31/21. If you could respond with a one or two page abstract and a short CV to my KCC email: firstname.lastname@example.org with a cc: to my personal email: email@example.com Any questions, I’m happy to discuss ideas.
In solidarity, as ever,
~Maureen Ellen Ruprecht
The City University of New York / Kingsborough
Maureen Ruprecht Fadem