Human Rights, Literature, the Arts, and Social Sciences (Abstracts Due March 31st)

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Central Michigan University
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Human Rights, Literature, the Arts, and Social Sciences
International Conference,
Central Michigan University,
Mt. Pleasant, MI
November 10-13, 2011

More than fifty years after the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the attainment of universal human rights remains elusive. The persistence of repressive and discriminatory national policies, cultural practices, wars, genocide, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, rape, and other forms of violence threaten the maintenance of human rights.

The envisioned international conference will focus on the role of literature (the Humanities), the arts, and Social Sciences in the discussion, representation, and promotion of human rights. We emphasize how writers, artists, theorists, scholars, and lawyers construct and engage the issue of human rights, paying attention to ethical, political, social, economic, and cultural implications of either violations or the constructions of human rights. In addressing the topic of human rights, we are informed by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other Conventions, Covenants, and Treaties as well as the Rome Statute. We are also cognizant of the influences or references to "rights" in earlier foundational or model declarations including the US Declaration of Independence (1776), the US Constitution (1787), and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789). As such, we encourage comparisons with or among these documents.

We invite presentations that address the issue of human rights or specific topics by themselves or through comparative lenses, diachronically or synchronically, and which explore the development and/or representation of human rights through literature, the humanities, the arts, and the Social Sciences. Topics/themes include, but are not limited to:

•The novel, poetry, drama/theatre/performance
•Ethics and international law
•Films/cinema and human rights
•The role of NGOs in the human rights debate
•Holocaust/Genocide/War crimes/crimes against humanity(slavery, child soldiering, rape)
•Indigenous rights and sovereignty
•Women's rights
•Civil and political rights; social and economic rights
•Migration and refugee rights
•Environmental rights
•Human rights in the age of globalization
•TRC or Truth Commissions (Here we want to move beyond South Africa)
•Human rights in cultural, regional, national contexts; human rights compliance

Presentation formats: Papers, panels, poster sessions, debates, discussions, seminars, lectures, forums, and/or performances.

Send abstracts to:
Professor Maureen N. Eke, Department of English
Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, 48859
Email:; or
Professor Sterling Johnson, Department of Political Science

Abstract Deadline: March 31, 2011