The State of Human Rights

Historical Genealogies, Political Controversies, and Cultural Imaginaries

Since their proclamation in the 1948 ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, human rights have become a dominant language in controversies over ethics around the globe and a normative basis for concepts of a just society and ideas of the public good. This concerns a variety of issues, from slavery and warfare through fights over indigenous rights and disputes over preserving the heritage of minorities to current conflicts over asylum law and the status of refugees. What is the state of human rights both within and beyond the boundaries of the nation state? How can we take into account the significance of cultural texts in envisioning and critically reflecting the 'state of human rights’?

This book offers interdisciplinary perspectives from literary and cultural studies, theater, photography, history, political science, philosophy, sociology, and law, looking at historical controversies on human rights as well as at their current political, social, and imagined state(s).