The twenty-first century has seen increased concern for human rights and anguished debates about what laws should be applied in what ways to protect those rights. This conference will examine how global historical approaches can deepen understanding of the issues of human rights, how conceptions of human rights spread and are resisted, and the effects of treating these issues as matters of law.
Experts from different disciplines will address significant issues in legal approaches to human rights and suggest directions for future research: Law is not always on the side of human rights—as shown in the first session, on slavery and human rights. The meaning of human rights shifts in times of crisis—as revealed in the second session on refugees. International courts can be awkward instruments—as explored in the third session.
The very history of human rights is controversial—what are its origins?, is it a Western imposition?, how should this history be studied? Two special lectures will treat these issues. The approach of global history raises questions about how and why the concept has spread—which is the topic of the fourth session—and about the cultural complexity of human rights, which is the topic of the final session. In addition two leading experts discuss their experience of the uses of law and of history with regard to human rights in talks open to the public following dinners on Friday and Saturday evening.The conference is free and open to the public. For more information and a full schedule of events, follow the link.