CfP: Human Rights in an Age of Ambiguity

Fordham University, New York City, 13 – 15 June 2016

5th joint conference, organized by:

  • Human Rights Section, International Studies Association (ISA)
  • Human Rights Section, American Political Science Association (APSA)
  • Human Rights Research Committee, International Political Science Association (IPSA)
  • ECPR Standing Group on Human Rights and Transitional Justice

In association with the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS)

The global political, economic, normative, structural and ideational landscape has undergone significant change in recent decades, with no signs of abating. There are new – or newly important – players, both state and non-state-based, which affect global political power asymmetries and inject competing ideas, interests, and priorities into the global political scene. New and evolving institutions and authority structures raise deep and profound questions about global (and regional and national) governance. These questions lead to an ambiguous global situation as norms, institutions and power structures are called into question and challenged on multiple levels.

Nowhere has this ambiguity been more acute and clear than in the area of human rights. A human rights regime which, while far from perfect, appeared to rest on a global consensus and seemed impervious to change, has undergone rapid and deep transformation – in ways which appear to both support and undermine the protection of human rights.

We welcome paper and panel proposals on the general theme of the conference from researchers and policymakers from academia, think tanks, IOs and NGOs featuring both traditional and innovative scholarship which address the unsettled state of human rights norms and institutions. Papers might address, among others, the following questions:

  • What challenges do shifting global power structures pose to human rights?
  • Are traditional state supporters of human rights still supporting human rights?
  • Are emerging global and regional powers supporting or challenging human rights?
  • Has the global consensus on human rights changed? Was there ever a consensus in the first place?
  • Is universality under serious threat?
  • Are there regional or other political divides on human rights?
  • How will new(er) global threats (e.g. climate change, terrorism) affect the realization of human rights in the future?
  • How can resiliency in human rights be better cultivated and practiced?
  • Have the Human Rights Council and other human rights institutions lived up to their promise?
  • Do our global institutions need to be revived/renewed/reimagined in order to properly realize human rights?
  • What are the implications of ambiguity across different generations of ights (e.g. civil/political vs. economic/social/cultural)?
  • What are the implications of the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean and elsewhere?

Conference Co-Chairs: Melissa Labonte (Fordham University); Kurt Mills (University of Glasgow)

For the complete call for papers, please follow this link:

For more information please contact:

The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm EST on Monday, 30 November 2015.

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