Friday, December 10, 2010

Political Scientists and The Politics of Rights

We somehow missed that the American Political Science Association has announced "The Politics of Rights" as the theme for its annual meeting this September 1-4, 2011, in Seattle until we received an email reminder that the deadline for submitting abstracts is December 15. The Call for Papers commences:
Jeremy Bentham called them “nonsense upon stilts” but at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the discourse of rights has never been more pronounced or contested. Around the globe, people mobilize -- and in courts, lawyers argue -- on behalf of human, civil, political, ethnic minority, aboriginal, women’s, gay, alien, children’s, transgender, corporate, (sub)national, environmental, and animal rights. Some of these are established rights that advocates seek to expand for those previously excluded from their ambit. Others are new rights. At the same time, the abrogation of such rights as habeas corpus and the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” by governments in established as well as new democracies in the decade since September 11 have engendered new alliances of progressives and rule of law liberals to defend the restoration and refurbishment of rights. Movements to expand, create, defend, and entrench rights into national and international law generate counter-claims, put rights under pressure and, some argue, problematically privilege courts, legal and centralized national institutions over other more democratic or popular mechanisms of policy formation and self-governance. We propose that the discipline bring its empirical and normative lenses to reflect on the domestic, comparative, and international dimensions of the complex politics of rights.

We invite panels and papers that address, from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives, the theme of how rights are defined, contested, contracted or expanded, enshrined into law, and rolled back. We are particularly interested in research that illuminates the domestic, comparative, international, and theoretical (both critical and normative) contexts and implications of the politics of rights.