Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:September 2016‒August 2018
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Untying Knots: History, Injustice, and Political Responsibility«
Past injustices have a powerful hold over the present. Consider indigenous rights claims in the Americas
and Australia, calls for reparations for the transatlantic slave trade, ethnic minority and national claims
for colonial traumas, and demands for the recognition of war crimes in Asia. These examples motivate
the intuition that past injustice continues to generate strong moral and political obligations in the
present. However, for pragmatic, principled, and philosophical reasons, there remains intense resistance
to the idea that present persons ought to be held responsible for wrongs committed by prior
In my dissertation, Untying Knots: History, Injustice, and Political Responsibility, I untangle the fraught
discourse on historical injustice in order to understand what counts as the injustice, who counts as
wronged and responsible, and why history matters. In the American context, a legacy of injustice
continues to shape the moral and material landscape of the present. I offer a forceful critique of recent
work in political philosophy and show that assumptions about time and causation limit theorists' ability
to engage with the full injury and injustice experienced by American Indian and African American
communities. I go on to develop a theory of responsibility for past injustice that identifies and responds
to the normative consequences of long-standing patterns of interaction between communities. This
research contributes to literature on historical injustice, group responsibility, inequality, reparations,
and indigenous rights claims. (Amy Hondo)
Research partner:Amy Hondo's research stay ist funded by the research center »Justitia Amplificata. Rethinking Justice − Applied and Global« (2016/17) and the Cluster of Excellence »The foundation of normative orders« (2017/18).
Scholarly profile of Amy Hondo At the Department of Politics at Princeton University, Amy Hondo is currently working on her dissertation entitled »Untying Knots: History, Injustice, and Political Responsibility«.
Main areas of research:Theories of Justice; Ethics; Collective Responsibility.