Gregory S. Alexander is A. Robert Noll Professor of Law, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Correspondence may be sent to email@example.com. An earlier draft version of this article was delivered as the keynote address at a conference on “Competing Histories and Conflicted Spaces: Property, Ethnicity and Contested Memory in Post-War Societies,” held at the University of Haifa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, in October 2012. Thanks to Sandy Kedar (Haifa) and Dieter Gosewinkel (Wissenschaftzentrum, Berlin) for inviting me and for valuable comments. Thanks also to Hanoch Dagan, Laura Underkuffler, Eduardo Peñalver, and to two anonymous reviewers for very helpful criticisms and suggestions.
The Complexities of Land Reparations
Article first published online: 30 SEP 2013
© 2013 American Bar Foundation
Law & Social Inquiry
Volume 39, Issue 4, pages 874–901, Fall 2014
How to Cite
Alexander, G. S. (2014), The Complexities of Land Reparations. Law & Social Inquiry, 39: 874–901. doi: 10.1111/lsi.12043
- Issue published online: 27 OCT 2014
- Article first published online: 30 SEP 2013
The question whether unjust dispossessions of land perpetrated on whole peoples in the past should be corrected by restitution in kind, that is, granting reparations in the form of returning land to the dispossessed former owners or their present-day successors, is substantially more complex than the questions posed by other forms of reparations. I argue that the complexities involved in all the situations where claims for land reparations are made to correct historic injustices give us good reasons to be hesitant about granting such claims. At the same time, we should not dismiss such claims out of hand. Reparations that take a form other than restitution of dispossessed land may be both necessary and sufficient to establish a public marker of acknowledgment.