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Harvard Law School Library Book Talk: Martha Minow, When Should Law Forgive?

October 31, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Martha Minow, When Should Law Forgive? (W. W. Norton & Co., Sept. 24, 2019).

The book talk discussion will include:


Martha Minow is the Harvard 300th Anniversary University Professor.


Homi K. Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English, the Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center and the Senior Advisor on the Humanities to the President and Provost at Harvard University.

Toby Merrill, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School.

Carol Steiker is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School.

Dehlia Umunna is a Clinical Professor of Law and Faculty Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School.

“What can forgiveness achieve in this age of resentment?

Harvard Law School professor and former dean Martha Minow explores the complicated intersection between law, justice, and forgiveness, asking whether law should encourage individuals to forgive and when should the courts, public officials, and specific laws forgive? Minow examines these questions through sometimes- troubling cases— comparing the legal treatment of juvenile offenses in the US with international responses to child soldiers, for example, and the legal forgiveness of corporate debt with the lack of forgiveness for consumer debt and student loans.

With compassion and acumen, Minow acknowledges that there are certainly grounds for both individuals and societies to withhold forgiveness, but argues that there are also many places where letting go of justified grievances can make law more just, not less. This type of lawful forgiveness might also nudge individuals and societies toward the respect and generosity that comes with apology and restitution. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – W.W. Norton & Co., Inc.

Book talks are open to the Harvard community. A light lunch will be served.


October 31, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


WCC 2036 Milstein East AB


Publicity Contact Name
June Casey
Publicity Contact Email