Making Space for Justice: Social Movements, Collective Imagination, and Political Hope
by Michele M Moody-Adams
From nineteenth-century abolitionism to Black Lives Matter today, progressive social movements have been at the forefront of social change. Yet it is seldom recognized that such movements have not only engaged in political action but also posed crucial philosophical questions about the meaning of justice and about how the demands of justice can be met.
Michele Moody-Adams argues that anyone who is concerned with the theory or the practice of justice—or both—must ask what can be learned from social movements. Drawing on a range of compelling examples, she explores what they have shown about the nature of justice as well as what it takes to create space for justice in the world. Moody-Adams considers progressive social movements as wellsprings of moral inquiry and as agents of social change, drawing out key philosophical and practical principles. Social justice demands humane regard for others, combining compassionate concern and robust respect. Successful movements have drawn on the transformative power of imagination, strengthening the motivation to pursue justice and to create the political institutions and social policies that can sustain it by inspiring political hope.
Making Space for Justice contends that the insights arising from social movements are critical to bridging the gap between discerning theory and effective practice—and should be transformative for political thought as well as for political activism.
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About the Author:
Michele M Moody-Adams is Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory at Columbia University. She is also the author of Fieldwork in Familiar Places: Morality, Culture, and Philosophy (1997). Moody-Adams is a lifetime honorary fellow of Somerville College, Oxford, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has published on equality and social justice, moral psychology and the virtues, and the philosophical implications of gender and race.
Serene Khader is the Jay Newman Chair in Philosophy of Culture at Brooklyn College and a Professor of Philosophy and Women's and Gender Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her areas of research within philosophy include ethics and moral psychology, political philosophy, and feminist philosophy. She also works in the interdisciplinary fields of development ethics and decolonial and postcolonial feminisms. Some of the transnational practices she has analyzed in this work include microcredit, household divisions of labor, and commercial gestational surrogacy. She is the author of Adaptive Preferences and Women's Empowerment (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Decolonizing Universalism: A Transnational Feminist Ethic (Oxford University Press, 2018).
Seyla Benhabib is Eugene Meyer Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Political Science, Yale University and a senior research scholar and adjunct professor of law at Columbia Law School. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Columbia University Department of Philosophy and a senior fellow at the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought. Benhabib is a distinguished international scholar who is known for her research and teaching on social and political thought, particularly 20th-century German thought and Hannah Arendt. Over the past two decades, she has become recognized for her contributions to migration and citizenship studies, as well as her work on gender and multiculturalism. Her latest book is Exile, Statelessness and Migration. Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin (Princeton University Press, 2018).
Robert J Gooding-Williams is the M. Moran Weston/Black Alumni Council Professor of African-American Studies and Professor of Philosophy and of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University. His research and teaching interests include Social and Political Philosophy (especially the philosophy of race), the History of African-American Political Thought, 19th Century European Philosophy (especially Nietzsche), Existentialism, and Aesthetics.
Christopher Peacocke is a Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy and the Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University. Professor Peacocke is known for his work in philosophy of mind and epistemology. His books include Sense and Content (Oxford University Press, 1983), Thoughts: An Essay on Content (Blackwell, 1986) and A Study of Concepts (MIT Press, 1992).
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