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David Kyle is the Co-Organizer (with John Dale) of a SSSP/ ASA-sponsored one-day conference in New York City on August 12th, entitled: "Re-Imagining Human Rights: The Challenge of Agency, Creativity, and Global Justice." There is a CFP due by March 31st.

Re-Imagining Human Rights –

The Challenge of Agency, Creativity, and Global Justice


Conference Co-Sponsored by Critical Sociology,

The Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the

Human Rights Section of the American Sociological Association


August 12, 2013 (8:45 am to 5:00 pm)

The Westin New York at Times Square

New York, NY


Call for Papers

Deadline for Submission of Abstracts March 31, 2013

This one-day conference on “Re-imagining Human Rights” invites scholars and practitioners to discuss the challenge of power and inequalities embedded in current institutional arrangements and practices of human rights.

The production of human rights is not immune to the effects of inequalities across the global North and South. Conference 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” flow only from the North to the South?  Does the social organization upon which transnational solidarity links actors across communities of the Global North and South reflect the human rights values that they pursue?  What is the quality of the social relationships upon which such solidarities are formed?  To what extent is the creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship of NGOs “measured” and constrained by the performative expectations of philanthropic donors and impact investment brokerages that provide the resources for their human rights work?  How do our understandings of human agency and personhood shape the (re)production and (trans)formation of human rights?

We are particularly interested in learning from organizations and practices founded in the global South or affiliated transnational partnerships. In the shadow of the United Nations, the conference also will devote special attention to grassroots human rights projects and collaborative alliances operating in New York City. Participants will engage in a transnational dialogue and reflexive engagement across scholarly and activist communities (though not exclusive categories). Thus, the role of a common human rights imagination, or multiple co-existing human rights imaginations, may be a starting point for a new dialogue on academic and other approaches.

We invite submissions of 300-500 words on a broad range of topics related to human rights.  We are especially interested in submissions that address the following themes: the inclusion of marginalized identities; making room for alternative conceptions of justice; developing creative narratives of agency and ontologies of human personhood; alternative transnational imaginaries; strengthening collaborative relations between critical academic research approaches and NGO activism; and identifying existing local and alternative institutional arrangements for building human rights.


  • Deadline for submission of abstracts:  Midnight, March 31, 2013

  • Selected participants will be notified by April 15, 2013.  Full drafts of accepted papers are due June 30, 2013.


  • Papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in a planned special issue of Critical Sociology and/or in a separate edited book.


  • The Conference will be free and open to the public.  Conference participants will be responsible for covering their own travel and lodging expenses.


  • Please send abstracts to conference organizers and guest editors John Dale and David Kyle at ReimaginingHumanRights@gmail.com by midnight, March 31, 2013.  Include your name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), and a short biography of not more than 80 words.


  • Keep in touch:

o   Twitter: @ReimaginingHR

o   Facebook: Reimagining Human Rights


Please circulate to networks, organizations, departments, colleagues, activists, students, and other interested parties.