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|Title:||The Poetics and Politics of Past Injuries: Claiming in Reparations Law and in Toni Morrison's novel Beloved|
|Authors:||van Rijswijk, Honni|
History of Slavery
Law and Literature
|Citation:||Law and Society Association Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) Conference 2008 ‘W(h)ither Human Rights’ 10-12 December University of Sydney|
|Abstract:||Why is there such a discrepancy between legal time and historical time? Or rather, whose historical time is tacitly represented and silently justified in legal representations? Whose interests are served by the law’s particular fictions and whose injuries are privileged? In exploring these questions I will focus on the 2006 case of In re African- American Slave Descendants, a claim made for reparations for slavery in the U.S. Since the 1980s a number of litigants have filed claims for injuries arising out of slavery and none has succeeded, but these very failures are worth examining for what they reveal about the contemporary inability to reconcile the demands of the past on the present. Throughout the twentieth century, historians challenged the idea that we have transparent access to historical truths, which has obvious implications for the status of the legal text; and yet the law itself has remained largely untouched by these insights. However, I argue that reparations cases can be read as theorising a new relationship between law and history, and as interventions in the law’s logic of time. Reparations claims intercept legal logic in at least two important ways: first, by insisting on the continuing damage of slavery, the claims defy positivist representations of history and time; and second, in their reliance on the legal fiction of corporate identity across time, these cases allude to the interconnected history of the fictions of corporate and slave identities, and potentially rework these fictions in the direction of social justice.|
|Rights and Permissions:||Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Inc|
|Type of Work:||Conference paper|
|Appears in Collections:||25th Annual Law and Society Conference of Australia & New Zealand.|
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