Virtual Event: Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò


Reconsidering Reparations


April 15, 2022
12:00 PM ET


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Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University welcomes OLÚFẸ́MI O. TÁÍWÒ, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University, for a discussion of his most recent book Reconsidering Reparations.

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About Reconsidering Reparations

Reparations for slavery have become a reinvigorated topic for public debate over the last decade. Most theorizing about reparations treats it as a social justice project - either rooted in reconciliatory justice focused on making amends in the present; or, they focus on the past, emphasizing restitution for historical wrongs. Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò argues that neither approach is optimal, and advances a different case for reparations - one rooted in a hopeful future that tackles the issue of climate change head on, with distributive justice at its core. This view, which he calls the "constructive" view of reparations, argues that reparations should be seen as a future-oriented project engaged in building a better social order; and that the costs of building a more equitable world should be distributed more to those who have inherited the moral liabilities of past injustices.

This approach to reparations, as Táíwò shows, has deep and surprising roots in the thought of Black political thinkers such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nkechi Taifa, as well as mainstream political philosophers like John Rawls, Charles Mills, and Elizabeth Anderson. Táíwò's project has wide implications for our views of justice, racism, the legacy of colonialism, and climate change policy.

Praise for Reconsidering Reparations

"Colonialism isn't over. Instead of men in pith helmets, the rich now send pollution, climate catastrophe, development consultants and philanthropists. In this sweeping, subtle and sophisticated analysis, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò presents an iron-clad case for why colonialism's end must coincide with a reparative transformation in relations between the colonizer and colonized, in the Global North and South. It's required reading for anyone looking for the arguments to support a just, and healing, future." —Raj Patel, author of The Value of Nothing and co-author of Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice

"Weaving together the long-held redistribution demands of revolutionary movements for racial justice and decolonization with the scientific imperative for immediate climate action, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò builds the irresistible case for decarbonization through reparation. Coursing with moral urgency and propelled by brilliant prose, this is more than argument. It's how we build the power needed to win." —Naomi Klein, Author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

"An extremely welcome intervention into the contemporary debate about reparations." —Vanessa Wills, The George Washington University

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. He specializes in social/political and Africana philosophy, with an emphasis on figures and themes from anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and Black radical traditions of thought and practice. He is the author of Reconsidering Reparations (January 2022) and Elite Capture (May 2022).

Photo Credit: Jared Rodriguez

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Ethics in Your World

The “Ethics in Your World” series, presented with Harvard University’s Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics, features leading thinkers taking on tough problems that matter to us all. Learn more about the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics at

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