Human Rights in Transit

There is a profound tension at the center of contemporary global existence.

While various groups struggle for the recognition and protection of their lives as people, the very category of the human is deeply suspect.  For example, migrant and civil rights organizations use the rhetorical and juridical machinery of human rights to make claims for political recognition as well as cultural and economic reparations. This is powerfully illustrated by the global activities of the #BlackLivesMatter movements, the “We Are Here” migrant rights movement, and the neo-abolitionist movement against human trafficking. In each of these examples, the valuing of human life is the central gravitational political and cultural force. At the same time, there is a radical decentering and even crisis of the human under way. The omnipresence of technology and the turn to posthumanism, decolonial critiques of “the human,” and the ecological displacement of the multi-species existence exemplify this transformation. These myriad dynamics and tensions speak to the fact that human rights and the idea of the human are in transit.

During the two years of this project we aim to cultivate many dynamic conversations, including about: the interconnections between state violence, refugees, and indigenous (re)settlement; contemporary claims to human rights that are (re)engaging and redefining understandings of enslavement; and the politics and poetics of data in making human rights claims.


October 18, 2018 | Naming (In)Justice: Rights and Resistance Across Queer Migration and Trafficking | Panel Discussions & Zine Workshop

March 27, 2018 |  Dr. Karma Chávez, “The Rhetoric of Sanctuary, the Logic of the State” |4pm| Denney Hall 311

February 8, 2018 | Girls of Color: Resistance and the Politics of Empowerment |9:30am-4pm | Interfaith Reflection Room, OSU Union | co-sponsored with the Transnational Black Citizenship and Environmental Humanities Discovery Theme Pilot Projects

February 7, 2018 | Co-Sponsored Lecture | Dr. Maria Mayerchyk and Olga Plakhotnik, “Feminist Protest in Post-Maidan Ukraine: Between ‘Nation Time’ and ‘Feminist Time'” | Campbell Hall 309 | 12:30-2pm.

November 3, 2017 | 1-3 pm | 18th Ave Library Room 352 | Reading & Discussion of Symptoms of Planetary Condition (2017) with authors Birgit Mara Kaiser and Kathrin Thiele

September 19-20, 2017Public Dialogue & Workshop with Dr. Christina Sharpe and Dr. Dione Brand | co-sponsored with the Transnational Black Citizenship DT project

June 12-16, 2017 | Summer Human Rights Program in New York City

April 11, 2017 | Jennifer Monson | Artist in Residence | 6 am Dawn Workshop (rsvp: | Artist Talk 6 pm, Sullivant Hall 220

April 7-8, 2017 | The Somali Diaspora in the U.S. | Series of Co-Sponsored Events

March 21, 2017 | 6:30 PM | Dr. Alondra Nelson, “The Social Life of DNA: Race and Reconciliation after the Genome,” Thompson Reading Room, 11th Floor (co-sponsored event)

February 14, 2017 | 3:30-4:30 PM | Informational Session for Human Rights Summer Study Program 

February 2, 2017 | 4-4:30 PM | The Problem of the Human

October 27, 2016 | 4-6 PM | Refugees, Indigenous People and (Re)Settlement: The Experience of Displaced Peoples