Lawrie Balfour

James Hart Professor of Politics

University of Virginia

Lawrie Balfour is a political theorist who studies race, gender, democracy, and literature with a focus on African American political thought. She is especially interested in investigating the relationship between the legacies of slavery and democratic possibilities in the U.S. The author of two books—The Evidence of Things Not Said: James Baldwin and the Promise of American Democracy (Cornell, 2001) and Democracy’s Reconstruction: Thinking Politically with W. E. B. Du Bois (Oxford, 2011)—she is currently writing a book about reparations. Both the reparations project and Balfour’s newer work on Toni Morrison explore black feminist traditions as a critical resource for understanding and challenging racial injustice.

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