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Law Research Seminar Series - Hijacking Human Rights: Neoliberalism, the New Historiography, and the End of the Third World

Venue: Birkbeck 30 Russell Square

Hijacking Human Rights: Neoliberalism, the New Historiography, and the End of the Third World

Speaker: Joseph Slaughter (Columbia University)

Recent histories identify the 1970s as the 'breakthrough'� period when human rights discourse gained traction globally. However, most of the new historiographers adopt an Americo-Eurocentric perspective that disregards events and peoples in the rest of the world. For many in the Global South, the Western rediscovery of human rights looks more like retrenchment and repossession, part of a larger 'roll back'� of Third World agendas to decolonize the international order. The 1970s also witnessed increased airline hijackings and a reversal in the meaning of 'terrorism.'� Together, these forces effected a neoliberal hijacking of human rights.

Joseph Slaughter is associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University where he teaches and publishes in the fields of postcolonial literature and theory, African, Caribbean, and Latin American literatures, and narrative theory, human rights, and international law. His first book, Human Rights, Inc.: The World Novel, Narrative Form, and International Law (Fordham, 2007) was awarded the 2008 René Wellek prize for comparative literature and cultural theory from the American Comparative Literature Association. He is a founding coeditor of Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development. The Global South Atlantic, an edited collection of essays on the long history of intercultural exchanges among Africa and Latin America was recently published. Slaughter is currently completing two books: New Word Orders, on intellectual property and world literature, and Pathetic Fallacies, a collection of essays on human rights, corporate personhood, and culture.

Law Research Seminars are held on Wednesdays at lunchtime. The seminars are free and open to the public, and a light lunch is provided. For more information please contact Dr Ba�ak Ertür

This is a free event however booking is required. To book your place please visit here.

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This event is part of the School of Law's 25th Anniversary celebrations. The School of Law, Birkbeck was founded in 1992 as a Department of Law with three members of academic staff. Over the last twenty-five years it has become a School comprising the Departments of Law and Criminology as well as the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, four research Centres, 40 members of staff and an overall student body of over 1,000. The School is proud of being a pioneer in establishing and developing a hub for the field of critical legal studies. While our national and international reputation has been forged through critical legal research, more recently we have gained recognition for critical criminological and activist research, socio-legal scholarship and policy-engaged empirical research. In recognition of this the last Research Excellence Framework exercise ranked us as being in the top 10 law schools in the UK and in the top 3 in London, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.

In this our 25th Anniversary year we will be holding a series of events reflecting on our history and successes as well as looking forward to the opportunities and challenges facing critical legal and criminological teaching and scholarship in the 21st century. Find out more about the 25th Anniversary celebrations here.

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