University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human Rights
Thursday and Friday, May 19-20, 2016
Imperial powers have often been among the most vocal advocates of human rights. Are human rights ideals in tension with imperialism, or might such ideals in fact be implicated in imperial projects? Especially if such ideals have been complicit in empire, can invocations of human rights still be useful in opposing imperial and racial domination? How does the history of human rights relate to the history of imperialism and decolonization?
This conference will bring together graduate students working with a range of theoretical and historical approaches to address the politics of human rights in relation to race and empire. Potential topics include (but are not limited to) the relationship between liberalism and empire; questions of intervention and sovereignty; narratives of nationhood in human rights discourse; the place of international law in past and contemporary forms of imperialism; international imaginaries and forms of solidarity beyond the nation-state; and connections between human rights, sovereignty, and self-determination.
The conference will run for a day and a half, starting mid-afternoon on Thursday, May 19th and ending early Friday evening, May 20th, 2016. It will include up to six workshop-style sessions on pre-circulated graduate student papers, as well as a keynote talk by Antony Anghie (University of Utah) on “Colonialism and the Future of Human Rights.” Each session will begin with comments from a University of Chicago graduate student discussant. The presenter will have time to respond to discussant comments before opening the conversation to the wider group.
Paper proposals, including a title and an abstract of approximately 500 words, are due by Tuesday, March 1 at 9:00am CST, and should be submitted through the conference website. Notifications will be sent by mid-March. University of Chicago graduate students are welcome to apply; however, preference will be given to external applicants. The conference will cover the cost of lodging in shared rooms for out of town presenters. A limited amount of travel funding is available for participants who cannot secure funding from their home institution.
Those presenting papers will be expected to send their paper draft to the conference organizer for circulation to participants by Monday, May 9th. They are also expected to read all papers and attend all sessions. Travel plans should include arriving in Chicago by 12 noon on Thursday, May 19th and depart no earlier than 7pm on Friday, May 20th.