Home | News | news3 |

Prof. Kyle and Alumni John Dale are Co-Organizers of Conference on Human Rights and Creative Agency in NYC, August 12th.

“Re-Imagining Human Rights: The Challenge of Agency, Creativity, and Global Justice.”

Conference to Highlight Perspectives from the Global South

During this year’s Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, the Section on Human Rights will be co-sponsoring a special one-day conference titled, “Re-Imagining Human Rights: The Challenge of Agency, Creativity, and Global Justice.” The Conference will take place at The Westin New York at Time Square on August 12th, from 8:45 am to 5:00 pm.

This one-day conference invites scholars and practitioners to discuss the challenge of creative action within the context of significant power inequalities embedded in current institutional arrangements and practices of human rights.  Panelists from around the world will give particular emphasis to concerns and perspectives from the global South. “The response to the call for papers was much greater than we had expected, and the quality of the submissions was excellent,” according to conference co-organizers John Dale (George Mason University) and David Kyle (University of California, Davis). “We had to turn down two-thirds of our submissions.  Nearly half are coming from, or conducting extensive research, outside the United States.”

Camilo Pérez-Bustillo and Karla Hernandez Mares will present the keynote address. Camilo Pérez-Bustillo is Research Professor of the Graduate Program in Human Rights and the Faculty of Law, at the Autonomous University of Mexico City (UACM), and is currently a visiting researcher at the University of Bergen, Norway, hosted by the Comparative Research Program on Poverty (CROP).  His colleague and co-presenter Karla Hernandez Mares is a documentary photographer and video producer who has worked closely in Mexico with the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center and the Mexican Section of Amnesty International in the Highlands of Guerrero, where grassroots movements have flourished in response to militarization in the wake of the "drug war" and the depredations of mega-projects related to mining and hydro-electricity.

The Conference offers thirty presentations distributed across eight panels exploring wide-ranging debates and innovative themes:

(1) “Human Personhood and the State of Human Rights”; (2) “The Human Rights Enterprise: The History and Future of Human Rights as Revolutionary Praxis”; (3) “Beyond Hegemonic Human Rights?”; (4) “Locating Human Rights: Values, Institutions, and Creative Action”;

(5) “Social Agency and the Cultural Work of Global Justice”; (6) “(Re)Capturing the Range of Imagination: Reflexive, Rational, and Measured Creativity”; (7) “The Multiple Dimensions and Principles of Global Justice”; and (8) “Interrogating Expert Knowledge: The (Un)Making of Torture as a Human Rights Violation.”

The panels will highlight projects or research within local, regional, and transnational contexts that offer insight for democratizing the production of human rights.  Do understandings of justice in the Global South meaningfully shape those institutionalized as human rights, or do human rights in the name of “global justice” emanate only from the North to the South?  How does the social organization of transnational solidarity actors across communities of the Global North and South reflect the values they pursue? What is the quality and value of the social relationships upon which such solidarities are formed?  How is the creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship of local NGOs “measured” and constrained by the performative expectations and “best practices” of philanthropic donors and impact investors who provide the resources for human rights work?  How do our negotiated understandings of human agency and personhood across transnational cultural and political fields shape the (re)production and (trans)formation of human rights?

Other co-sponsors of the Conference include the Society for the Study of Social Problems, George Mason University’s international Consortium on Global Problem Solving and Office of Global and International Strategies, University of Connecticut’s Human Rights Institute, and the journal of Critical Sociology.

Registration is free for anyone who is already registered for the annual meetings of the ASA or Society for the Study Social Problems, but Co-organizers John Dale and David Kyle request that those planning to attend please RSVP by e-mail: ReimaginingHumanRights@gmail.com to help them organize seating and budget for refreshments.   The Conference is open to the public, but for those not registered we ask for a minimum donation of $20 at the door to help offset the hotel charges for additional seating and refreshments.

To access the preliminary program with a full list of panelists and presentations, visit http://www.sssp1.org/ReimaginingHR.