The Rhetoric and Substance of Human Rights

Date:  Sunday, April 9, 2006
Speaker:  Professor Deen K. Chatterjee

Deen K. Chatterjee teaches philosophy at the University of Utah and is the Editor-in-Chief of the forthcoming, multi-volume Encyclopedia of Global Justice. His publications include, most recently, Democracy In a Global World: Human Rights and Political Participation In the 21st Century (2006).

“With the gradual emergence of the global human-rights culture in the last 50 years and some of the worst transgressions of human rights during the same period, it may seem that the human-rights talk is an empty rhetoric. To sort out the rhetoric and the substance of human rights, this forum will examine the nature, practice, and limits of human rights in global politics. As much as the concept of universal human rights is meant to be a uniting idea, it has also become a divisive and contested point over which battle lines have been drawn. Keeping in focus the role of rights at the normative foundations of justice and democracy, the forum will explore some of the myriad problems and challenges of human rights through an examination of such topics as individual and group rights, rights and culture, sovereignty and international law, humanitarian intervention, and terrorism.”

Speaker Suggested References
Amartya Sen, Identity and Violence:The Illusion of Destiny (2006)
David Reidy & Mortimer Sellers, eds. Universal Human Rights: Moral Order in a Divided World (2005)
William Talbott, Which Rights Should be Universal? (2005)
Tim Dunne & Nicholas Wheeler, eds. Human Rights in Global Politics (1999)