[csaa-forum] "Human Rights and the Critical Impulse": Centre for Critical Human Rights Research Public Lecture, UoW

Andrew Hickey Andrew.Hickey at usq.edu.au
Wed Aug 3 14:05:05 ACST 2016

A Centre for Critical Human Rights Research Public Lecture

University of Wollongong

"Human Rights and the Critical Impulse"

Professor Baden Offord

Where: Building 20, Room 3, University of Wollongong

When: 4:30 p.m., Thursday 11 August

RSVP abrown at uow.edu.au<mailto:abrown at uow.edu.au>

How do we do critical human rights research and keep grounded? How do we enable human rights to flourish in a plurality of knowledges, which Vinay Lal argues is essential if they are not to remain a Western form of imperialism and overly legalistic? How do we respond meaningfully to what Amartya Sen has cogently pointed out: ‘philosophers and legal theorists see the rhetoric of human rights as just loose talk…’ (2004: 316). And how do we ensure that there is, in Sen’s words, ‘no great deficit in the balance of trade between theory and practice’ (2004: 356).

I will argue that human rights are frequently abstracted and betrayed on an everyday basis, part of an ideological matrix of challenges and assumptions where the cosmopolitan impetus is caught up and held in by the dominant society. Given the current situation for refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, I will ask the critical question, how do I/we respond to what is clearly a betrayal of the promise of human rights and the cosmopolitan spirit. I will posit the notion of ‘principled exposure’ and the role that the critical human rights researcher has in activating knowledge that matters and which disrupts monolithic understandings of human rights. To do this, I will argue how two recent scholarly and activist interventions activated human rights through the combination of creative performance and the critical impulse.


Baden Offord holds the Dr Haruhisa Handa Chair of Human Rights Education and is Professor of Cultural Studies and Human Rights. He is the Director of the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University. Baden’s research is concerned with the critical relationship between lived experience and the everyday encounter and negotiation of structural and epistemic violence faced by many on account of their markers of difference, including race, sexuality and disability. His work focuses on critical notions of belonging, identity and the effects of colonialism. He is also part of a scholarly and activist community that works collectively to decolonize and destabilize the study of sexuality in Southeast Asia.


Dr Andrew Hickey, Ph.D
Associate Professor (Communications)
Coordinator- Research and Research Training
School of Arts and Communication
Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
University of Southern Queensland
Toowoomba | Queensland | 4350 | Australia
Ph: +61 7 4631 2337 | Fax: +61 7 4631 2828 |
Email: Andrew.Hickey at usq.edu.au<mailto:XXXXXXX at usq.edu.au>


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