[URBANTH-L] CFP: Socio-political Meanings of Human Rights in Cultural Contexts (Nova Southeastern U)

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Thu May 22 11:39:15 EDT 2008

Socio-political Meanings of Human Rights in Cultural Contexts
Date: June 27, 2008
Location: Florida, United States

The Culture and Conflict Group (CCG) at the Department of Conflict Analysis 
and Resolution at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences at 
Nova Southeastern University invites you to a one-day academic symposium: 
Socio-political Meanings of Human Rights in Cultural Contexts

The event will take place on June 27, 2008 - 9:00 A.M. - 5.00: P.M. at Nova 
Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Florida; Knight Auditorium, 
Carl DeSantis Building)

We wish to invite academic experts in the field of human rights as well as 
speakers who have suffered human rights violations, to present and discuss 
their cutting-edge research and/or experiences on broad facetted aspects of 
human rights. We also hope to include outstanding student 
papers/presentations into the sessions. We encourage attendance by scholars, 
students, and groups/individuals interested in human rights.



In our current world the majority of our societies are facing different 
forms of structural violence, i.e. the ongoing and institutionalized 
deprivation of needs of survival, well-being, identity and freedom (Galtung, 
1969). The physical manifestation of structural violence can be seen in 
broad forms of assaults to human rights on different levels and in different 
contexts: wars, torture, political violence, personal revenge, 
confrontations, disappearing of individuals are examples of how far human 
beings can go in order to obtain power, recognition, wealth or domination. 
Moreover, contemporary societies often function on the basis of sharp 
antinomies such as inclusions/exclusion, right/wrong or moral/immoral. 
Consequently societal structures determine which groups' and individuals' 
worldviews and ways of living are acceptable and which ones are 
discriminated against.

Scholars are critically examining human rights from different disciplinary 
perspectives through a myriad of cultural, geographical, philosophical, 
ideological, historical and social lenses. Whereas human rights are declared 
universal, state agents as well as out-of-state actors have harmed 
individuals and groups in the name of peace, in the defense of national 
territory, for a national idea, in the name of religion, etc. The clashes in 
Tibet, the crisis in Darfur, the Bedouins in Israel are extraordinary 
examples of how different cultural and political dynamics lead to 
ever-changing interpretations of human rights. State agents as well as out 
of state actors have also attempted to reconcile and preserve human rights 
as 'neutral' third party interveners such as the United Nations Convention 
Against Torture or the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the 
Crime of Genocide. Any of these examples of human rights violations and 
negotiations raise issues of sociocultural relativity: whether individual 
rights take precedence over group/communal rights, how previously colonized 
societies exert self-determination to rise out of humiliation, and the 
highlighting of the continuum of injustice to justice.

Our contention is that a rigid thus limited interpretation of human rights 
that fails to address cultural differences and nuances weakens the claim for 
universally accepted human rights.

Our symposium proposes to re-examine assumptions of universal human rights 
by discussing different interpretations of human rights in diverse cultural 
context. In particular we are interested in - but not limited to - 
addressing issues of human rights in relation to minorities, resistance 
(violent and nonviolent), LGBT, social identities, environment, violence and 
terror, pre-emption, expression, refugees/immigrants, self-defense, 
morality, perpetrators/supporters/bystanders and nationalism. We encourage 
interdisciplinary approaches (e.g. conflict analysis and resolution, 
anthropology, sociology, law and social psychology) that further academic 
debate, social theorizing and develop new understandings of human rights 
discourse. Given the fact human rights discourses are underlying factors to 
the field of conflict analysis and resolution, problematizing these notions 
is essential for strengthening this and other academic fields.


Visit: www.culture-conflict.org for the proposal submission form, additional 
information and regular updates on the symposium.

You can also download the form directly at:



Seating is limited. To secure your seat please register soon by sending an 
email with your name and affiliation to symposium at culture-conflictorg.


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