Conference to Explore Racial Reconciliation Around the World

Tulane Law School is hosting a two-day conference that will explore the legal and practical challenges of racial reconciliation around the world.

The event March 16-17 is titled, “A Conference of Global Perspectives: Regimes of Redress and Reparations, Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law” and is sponsored by the Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar Fund and the Carol Lavin Bernick Faculty Scholarship Fund.

Tulane faculty organizing the conference include Associate Professor of Law Saru Matambanadzo, Associate Professor of History and Director of Africana Studies Laura R. Adderley, Associate Professor of History Marline S. Otte, and Professor of Law Robert S. Westley, who holds the LOCHEF Professorship in Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility and is the Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar for 2017-18.

Westley said scholars and activists from around the world – many specializing in reconciliation, transitional justice, historical memory and the rule of law – will participate in the event, which will be held in the Wendell H. Gauthier Moot Court, Room 110 of John Giffen Weinmann Hall, 6329 Freret St.

Interdisciplinary and transnational in scope, the conference will feature experts from regions that have experienced racial oppression and are in the process of achieving reconciliation through the establishment of the rule of law, norms of redress, and cultures of remembrance.

“This conference will exhibit one of the traditional strengths of Tulane Law School by engaging in a comparative and interdisciplinary discussion of the need to pursue multiple avenues toward reparation and redress for historical injustice,” Westley said.

The Reparations conference will feature two keynote speakers. On Friday, Ana Lucia Araujo, a Professor of History at Howard University, will discuss her book “Reparations for Slavery and Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History.” On Saturday, Sir Hilary McDonald Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, will discuss his book “Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide.” Beckles is also chair of the CARICOM Reparations Committee.

Sir Hilary McDonald Beckles
Sir Hilary McDonald Beckles is a Barbadian historian and the current vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies. Also, he serves as chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Committee.

Panelists will explore a variety of remedial strategies used to address racial and ethnic oppression and atrocities across cultures and history, including constitutional reforms as a form of redress for American slavery, German reparations following the Holocaust, and other European responses to state-sponsored atrocities.

The Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar position is designed to give Tulane law professors resources to expand their research and engagement with other scholars and the broader public. By sponsoring the event, Gamm (L’70), continues to support Tulane Law School with his unique legal perspective through a passion for comparative law.

Gamm, who comes from a family of Tulane lawyers and practiced in Kansas City, Mo., and Boulder, Colo., has represented world humanist organizations including in the U.S. Supreme Court. Gamm established the Bragg Symposium on Humanism in Kansas City and the Boulder International Humanist Institute, which have brought in speakers from a wide range of fields, including journalism, anthropology, evolutionary biology, economics, religious criticism and law.

Past Gamm Faculty Scholars at Tulane Law School have hosted national or international conferences relating to equality law (Prof. Saru Matambanadzo), comparative law (Prof. Sally Richardson), and corporate law and governance (Prof. Ann Lipton).

“We’re deeply grateful to Gordon and Grace Gamm for their continuing generous support of Tulane’s creative scholarly community and our distinctive mission relating to comparative law, jurisprudence, and human rights,” said Dean David Meyer.

“In tackling the complex and compelling issues relating to reparations and other forms of post-conflict remediation, this conference reflects the best of that mission.”

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