The last year has been a transformational period for the idea of justice. We see this, for example, in talk about the systematic inequities exposed by the high rate of COVID-19 deaths among U.S. Americans of color, as well as the mass social mobilization in response to racist police violence after George Floyd’s murder.
Justice, or its absence, has become an organizing concern across U.S. public spaces and an orienting point for scholarly debate.
Inspired by these events, the “Mediating Justice” series asks what it is that we mean when we talk about justice. To do this, the series takes an unusual approach. Instead of the usual turn to philosophy or jurisprudence for a definition, this series brings anthropologists and peace studies scholars together to discuss how ideas of justice live in particular contexts.
While normative definitions of justice derive their power from their claim to universality, anthropologists have long shown that abstract concepts such as justice exert their grip in specific socio-historical contexts, taking shape through social and semiotic mediation. Concepts of justice are always mediated by the interactions, institutions, and conditions of their use. This series explores how concepts of justice emerge through mediation processes like translation, pedagogy, contestation, erasure, and appropriation. By carefully tracing how practices of justice unfold, we aim to expand our understanding of how “justice” works, including how it might work as a normative goal for justice-seeking scholarship.
Join us for a conversation to close this dynamic series.
New video interviews in the series will be released at kroc.nd.edu/MediatingJustice and on the Kroc Institute Facebook page each Wednesday through April 7, 2021.