Amy Hondo



Postdoctoral Fellow

Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
Oktoberr 2016‒December 2018

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Untying Knots: History, Injustice, and Political Responsibility«

Project outline:
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 generations.

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), the Cluster of Excellence »The foundation of normative orders« and the Alfons und Gertrud Kassel-Stiftung (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.