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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Epistemic Reparations

The Epistemic Reparations Global Working Group aims to create a more holistic, survivor- and victim-centered framework for understanding reparations that includes the recognition of the “right to be known” for those who have experienced gross human rights violations.

About the Project

There is growing recognition around the world that existing tools to address gross violations of human rights have not achieved meaningful justice for survivors and victims who seek epistemic reparations, which include the critical right to tell one’s story and be heard. This group aims to create a framework for understanding reparations through interdisciplinary research and policy change that recognize the “right to be known.” This critical but previously underappreciated right can be fulfilled through the facilitation of opportunities for survivors and victims to testify and document their own stories to a wider public.​ Learn more in our Buffett Brief on Epistemic Reparation, or explore more Global Working Groups' research in our collection of Buffett Briefs >>



Group Members


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Benjamin Frommer

History, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
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Jennifer Lackey

Philosophy, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Group Members

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Sheila Bedi

Clinical Law, Pritzker School of Law
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Micol Bez

PhD Candidate, Comparative Literary Studies and Philosophy, Northwestern University; Philosophy, Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Institut Jean-Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris; Epistemic Reparations Fellow

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Annalise Buth

Clinical Law, Pritzker School of Law
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Rives Collins

Theatre, School of Communication
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Sarah Cushman

Director, Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University
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Brent Huffman

Journalism, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
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Alex Kotlowitz

Journalism, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

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Faith Summersett Williams

Pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine
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Deborah Tuerkheimer

Law, Pritzker School of Law
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Cameron Boult

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Brandon University
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Tymofii Brik

Rector, Kyiv School of Economics
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Raff Donelson

Associate Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law
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Yukari Kane

Co-founder, the Prison Journalism Project
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Julia Lafreniere

Head of Indigenous Ways and Equity, Winnipeg Art Gallery - Qaumajuq

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Veli Mitova

Professor of Philosophy and Director of the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, University of Johannesburg
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Mongane Serote

Former African National Congress member, former poet laureate and writer
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Robin Rue Simmons

Founder and Executive Director, First Repair

Latest Work and Developments

Engagement Activities

  • Epistemic Blame and Epistemic Reparations
    September 15–16, 2023 at the Qaumajuq Museum and University of Manitoba 
    This workshop will bring together philosophers, Indigenous activists and artists to explore the intersection of epistemic reparations and epistemic blame. The workshop will be accompanied by a free public lecture by Senator Mary Jane McCallum and will be followed by a free Community Led Tour of Qaumajuq, the world's largest public collection of Inuit art. Epistemic Reparations group member Julia Lafreniere is Head of Indigenous Ways and Equity at Qaumajuq. This event is co-organized by the Department of Philosophy at Brandon University and the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba.

  • Conversations with the Apartheid Past
    May 6–10, 2024 at various locations in Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa
    This five-day series of events will organize conversations with Apartheid activists, descendants and artists through a workshop, working groups, interviews and poetry readings. This series is organized by the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science (ACEPS) at the University of Johannesburg. Epistemic Reparations group member Veli Mitova is the director of ACEPS.