Human Rights, History, and Literature

This working group seeks to explore the interconnections between literature, human rights and history. Our readings will include excerpts or full texts from legal studies, history, literary studies, along with primary texts which may include novels, short stories, and films. Ideally this working group will be one in which everyone can contribute their ideas, suggesting readings which are of interest to them, so that we can foster an open interdisciplinary environment where a wide array of interests are met. Every literary text we read will be placed in dialogue with a historical or legal work so that we can create a dialogue between disciplines and systems of thought. This working group will aim to create a bridge between many departments since it will deal with global human rights issues in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and also in previous centuries, where “rights” started gaining visibility. Therefore, those interested in gender, post-colonialism, human rights history, the creation of legal persons, literary representation of human rights abuses and atrocities, will have a space to voice their opinions and thoughts. Several scholars have created a line of dialogue between human rights and literature, however, this is a growing, fast-changing, dynamic field which is still being invented, revised, and rearticulated. As such this working group will contribute greatly to the ongoing discussion, developing new methods of interpretation and argumentation along the way.

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