Miller Center

Christopher LeBron

Political Science, Massachusetts institute of Technology

Power, Race, History and Justice in America

LeBron photo

Christopher J. Lebron is Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Philosophy at Yale University

Lebron's general interests are in issues of social justice, and political theory methodology. 

His dissertation put forth a conception of justice termed democratic partnership developed for the purpose of addressing extant racial injustices in American society. He began from the premise that significant patterns of injustice in any society can only be understood, hence properly addressed, when we consider the development of the injustice over the course of a specified historical period. Further, any resulting injustice importantly centered on those aspects of social existence which undermine one's ability to partake and benefit from that society's resources and political life – he offered that this is the ability to have a sufficient amount of self-respect. Historically grounded injustices are best addressed, so he argued, by a normative theory informed by a robust conception of power, which he termed historically evolved socially embedded power. To give context to the claims of justice and this conception of power, he sought to provide a relevant political historical narrative focusing on the relations of power between major social, political, and economic institutions and persons of color and which considers the broader impact on society over time. Democratic partnerships are only fulfilled when the appropriate institutions take on the stipulated responsibilities while persons of color utilize the social bases of self-respect in order to be substantive equal members of democratic society.

Fellowship year: 2008

Mentor: Kwame Appiah, New York University

Selected Recent Publications

The Color of Our Shame: Race and Justice in Our Time (Oxford University Press, July 2013).

What, To the Black American, Is Martin Luther King Jr. Day?New York Times Opinionator-The Stone, January 18, 2015.

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