Contexts of Human Rights

10th Anniversary Conference

September 19-21, 2013 • Storrs, CT

Human Rights in the USA, October 22, 2009

This international conference will showcase the “Connecticut School of Human Rights,” a contextual approach to human rights that has been advanced at the Human Rights Institute of the University of Connecticut over the last ten years. Despite the predictions of some that the era of human rights had ended, interest in human rights has expanded beyond law schools and mushroomed throughout the academy, and in particular in the social sciences and humanities. The panels of this conference—evaluating the idea of human dignity, affirmative action policies, humanitarianism and visual media, the enforcement of economic rights, refugee camps, health and human rights, historical memory and transitional justice, and the future of the European Court of Human Rights—cut distinct routes through the human rights terrain while remaining steadfastly rooted in rigorous social science and humanities methods of inquiry. These conversations, along with those inspired by the wider lens of the Keynote Address, point toward new horizons for the Institute and for the interdisciplinary study of human rights for decades to come.

Founded in 2003, the Human Rights Institute has fostered an empirical and historical approach to human rights teaching and research that subjects universal moral values and legal rights to rigorous scrutiny. Today’s HRI is a vibrant intellectual community, with seven joint faculty members in five different departments and several dozen associated faculty across the University, three established research programs, annual external and internal faculty fellowships, a graduate certificate program, the first undergraduate major at a public research university, and funding opportunities for faculty and student research. HRI has provided a meeting place for scholars across disciplines, instigating and supporting collaboration across conventional academic boundaries. Situated at the intersection of academic inquiry between the legal, social science, and humanities traditions, the University of Connecticut is a place where the promise and claims of human rights are interrogated through empirical research into institutions and process, both global and local. Human rights are not simply academic subjects, however, and we seek to inform and shape policy decisions through our empirical investigations. This conference, with panels rooted in the Institute’s research programs, demonstrates the multidisciplinary nature of the human discourse field, as well as the important ongoing interchange between human rights scholarship and human rights practice around the world. Beyond the University of Connecticut, the Human Rights Institute has fostered a distinctive and lively global network of human rights scholars—an accomplishment we intend to both celebrate and build on with this international conference. The Institute has served as a meeting place and a place of departure for the emergent field of human rights studies. Since 2003, HRI has hosted five major international conferences and eight faculty workshops, bringing together a diverse range of human rights scholars, advocates, and artists to meet, discuss, and discover. Each focused on a distinctive facet of the human rights field, from human rights and terrorism (2004) to human rights in the early British Empire (2011), from the quantification and promotion of economic rights (2005) to human rights, humanitarianism and the media (2010). This conference will continue this tradition, drawing scholars and practitioners from around the world to renew ongoing conversations and to inspire new ones about the latest challenges in the field.

Conference Overview

Thursday, September 19, 2010

Except where noted, all events will take place in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

1:00-2:30pm Evaluating Human Dignity: Looking Forward
2:30-4:00pm Translating Economic Rights into Practice: Multiple Paths to Enforcement
4:00- 6:00pm Keynote Lecture: Thomas Pogge (Yale University)
6:00-6:30pm Reception
6:30-8:00pm Dinner in Honor of the Service of the Founding Director of the UConn Human Rights Institute, Richard Ashby Wilson | Registration required | Wilbur Cross Reading Room

Friday, September 20, 2010

8:00am – Breakfast Reception
9:00-10:30am Health & Human Rights: Articulating, Implementing, Critiquing Right to Health Claims
10:30am-12:00pm Humanitarianism and the Photograph Rethought
12:00-2:00pm Keynote Lecture: Aryeh Neier (Open Society Foundation) | Registration required | Wilbur Cross Reading Room
2:30-4:00pm Colombia’s Search for Justice in the Time of Conflict
4:00-5:30pm The European Court of Human Rights: Challenges of the New Europe
6:00-8:00pm Dinner and Puppetry Performance | Registration required | Wilbur Cross Reading Room

Saturday, September 21, 2010

8:00am Breakfast reception
9:00-10:30am Sanctuary Without Refugee Camps
10:30am-12:00pm Mobilizing for Economic and Social Rights in Canada and the United States
12:00-1:00pm Lunch | Registration required | Wilbur Cross Reading Room
1:30-3:00pm Affirmative Action Policies: Lessons Learnt and Moving Forward
3:00-4:30pm Roundtable: Human Right in the Liberal Arts
4:30-5:00pm Conference Discussion

Associated Graduate Student Conference

The Graduate Human Rights Conference will kick off the interdisciplinary conversation on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at the Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. We aim to bring together graduate students interested in human rights, from multiple disciplines, to present and share their research interests. The Graduate Conference will include a workshop on publishing in the field of human rights as well as complimentary breakfast and lunch. We encourage Graduate students to come to these events on Wednesday and stay for the 10th Anniversary Conference which will include many prominent human rights scholars.