For over 30 years, the University Seminar on Human Rights has served as a laboratory for exploring new approaches to problems in human rights. Seminar topics cover international and domestic areas of concern, and reflect problems of both conceptualization and application. Emphasis is also placed on dialogue between advocates of western and non-western ideas and practices.
The 2010-11 University Seminar on Human Rights theme is:
Human Rights in Conflict: Exploring the Issues, Assessing the Challenges
George J. Andreopoulos
Zehra F. Arat
Rapporteur: Sarika Bansal
October 3, 2011
Yasmine Ergas: The Transnationalization of Everyday Life: Reproductive Surrogacy, Human Rights and the Dilemmas of International Law
November 14, 2011
Doug Morris: Human Rights, Natural Law and Ernst Fraenkel's Resistance Within Nazi Germany
December 5, 2011
Michele Grigolo: The Construction and Implementation of Human Rights in US and European Urban Policies
February 6, 2012
Allon Bar: Advancing Human Rights Online: Emerging Issues
March 5, 2012
Lorrin Thomas: "Utopia Unarmed"? Human Rights in Latin America, 1968-1976
April 9, 2012
Dorota Gierycz: Liberia: Is Sustainable Peace and Development Possible Without Human Rights?
ISHR initiated the Seminar in 1978 and has continued to play an active role in the Seminar’s development, particularly through outreach to potential speakers and members—and to a succession of gifted and dedicated graduate students serving as the Seminar’s rapporteurs.
Each year, ISHR helps choose the Seminar’s annual theme. Historically, the seminar has addressed cutting-edge topics which only later have come into central focus as human rights issues. For example, in the 1980s, the international law and organization specialist Philip Alston drew attention to the need for a human rights component in the work of the World Bank, before this became a widely recognized issue. Review the list of past topics and chairs.
In addition to the more general University Seminar on Human Rights, several University Seminars deal with specific human rights issues, such as:
- The University Seminar on Sexuality, Gender, Health, and Human Rights, founded in 1999, addresses and encourages interdisciplinary dialogue and work regarding the relationship among sexuality, gender, health, and human rights, both in domestic and international contexts.
- The University Seminar on History, Redress, and Reconciliation provides a forum for interdisciplinary work on issues at the intersection of history, memory and contemporary politics with particular emphasis on redressing past wrongs and gross violations of human rights. The Seminar’s guiding question is how history and memory inform contemporary politics, particularly in conflict and post conflict societies.
- The University Seminar on The Problem of Peace is concerned broadly with the maintenance of international peace and security and with the settlement of international disputes. It considers specific conflicts and also discusses the contemporary role of the United Nations, multinational peacekeeping, humanitarian efforts and other measures for the resolution of international conflicts.
- The Globalization, Labor, and Popular Struggles Seminar examines theoretical and historical developments in labor politics and the labor movement. Broader issues in popular politics, as well as forms of popular action that are often identified by such alternative labels as "social movements" or "contentious" politics, are also discussed.
The University Seminars Office website hosts detailed information on these and other University Seminars, and includes seminar schedules.