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Date(s) - 07/12/2017
All Day

Academy House

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The existence of human rights – the holding of certain rights or privileges by virtue of being human – is often in the West considered self-evident, as Thomas Jefferson famously wrote. But what are the foundations of human rights and what are its effects in a time of stress? A progressive proponent today might approve of social changes such as extending the right to marry to all adult citizens in a number of countries, while at the same time be horrified by the largest European refugee crisis since 1945. What can the future of human rights be in the face of new threats to the world order and the rise of demagogic, nativist politics? What new perspectives are required by globalized culture or the violent opposition to human rights by some detractors? This symposium seeks to consider human rights in a larger perspective, one that the humanities are particularly capable of providing.

The keynote lecture will be delivered by Samuel Moyn (Yale).

Proposals for twenty-minute papers are invited from all areas of the arts and humanities. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The philosophy and ethics of human rights
  • The history of human rights
  • Literature and human rights
  • Human rights and the arts (architecture, dance, film, music, theatre, video, visual arts, etc.)
  • Human rights and languages
  • Human rights as Western (or Christian) ideology
  • Post-human rights?
  • The awareness and study of human rights in scholarship, teaching, or the public arena

Please make your proposal in the form of an abstract of no more than 500 words at


DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: 1 JULY 2017. Applicants will be notified by mid-September.

NOTE ON PUBLICATION. The organizers hope to produce a collection of essays on human rights and the humanities. Scholars who cannot attend the colloquium in Dublin, but wish nonetheless to offer papers for the book, may also submit proposals, indicating so on the web form.