David Stein

Department of African American Studies, Department of History

“The Question of Reparations: Histories of Racism, Inequality, and Public Policy.” (Course Proposal)

Course Proposal

Recent years have seen a renewed call for reparations from past and ongoing harms against Black people. Such demands recognize that racism and inequality have been indelibly shaped by the history of public policy. What are the histories of these public policies? And what is the history of demanding reparations for past harms? This course investigates the histories of public policies around land, housing, pollution, and more. Through studying such policies since the mid-20th Century, students will analyze how these policies have shaped inequities of race, class, and gender. In addition to other topics, we will consider: redlining, labor markets, healthcare, mass incarceration, and access to education. We will also investigate how and why studying these policies helped provoke many to argue for reparations for such practices. Through studying problems, we will also ask ethical and political questions about how reparations for these past harms might manifest


David Stein is a Lecturer in the Departments of History and African American Studies. He specializes in the interconnections between social movements, public policy, and political economy in post-1877 U.S. history. His first book, Fearing Inflation, Inflating Fears: The Civil Rights Struggle for Full Employment and the Rise of the Carceral State, 1929-1986, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press. He co-hosts and produces Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast with Betsy Beasley.