Critical Legal Conference 2009
University of Leicester, UK - September 11-13
Call for papers to the stream
‘Genealogy of Human Rights from a Third-World Perspective’
What can be said from the standing point of the Third World about the modern history of human rights? Taking a diversion from/to the main topic of the CLC 2009, this stream explores an alternative path of reflection suggested by Foucault himself when he argued that ‘the crisis of Western thought is identical to the end of imperialism… For it is the end of the era of Western Philosophy. Thus, if philosophy of future exists, it must be born outside of Europe or equally born in consequence of meetings and impacts between Europe and non-Europe’.
This stream looks for a genealogy of human rights that is not signposted by European hallmarks -the French Revolution and the Rights of Man, the Holocaust and the Universal Declaration-, and that is outside the Eurocentric theory of rights -the cannon formed among others by Hobbes, Kant, Marx and Habermas- which locates human rights in the context of the relation between individuals and the state.
Is there a place for human rights in the history of the relationships between modern empires and the Third World? Have the struggles against colonialism and globalization constituted, supplemented and radically transformed human rights? Is there another genealogy and other future for human rights in the series of events formed by the resistance to the Conquest of America in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries; the wars of Independence in the Americas in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries; the struggles for decolonization in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East in the Twentieth century; and the emergence of indigenous groups, social movements and peoples fighting today in the Global South against contemporary empires, transnational corporations and international financial institutions?
Can we shift the conventional perspective and look for a conceptualization –and sensibilisation- of human rights in the numerous traditions of resistance to imperialism advanced since the very beginning of modernity, including the works of authors and figures such as Bartolomé de las Casas, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Bolívar, W.D.B. du Bois, Gandhi, Fanon, the Dalai Lama, Mandela, Rigoberta Menchú, Enrique Dussel, Walter Mignolo, Samir Amin, B.S. Chimni, Antony Anghie and Upendra Baxi, among others? What Postcolonial and Subaltern Studies, the Decolonial Turn, the Third World Approach to International Law, and Latin American and African philosophies can say about rights in modernity?
This stream invites papers that develop a critique of –or a dialogue with- Eurocentric interpretations of human rights, and proposals that advance an understanding of rights grounded on any of the historical and geographical sites of the modern struggles for self-determination in the Global South. This stream also welcomes papers that, from the point of view of Europe, enter into a dialogue with the Third-World conceptualization of human rights. Please send your name, affiliation, title of your paper and an abstract of no more than 250 words by Friday, 26 June 2009 directly to the stream convenor.
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