Thinking critically about human rights

Accompanying Resources for the Special International Human Rights Day Episode of Praxis Makes Perfect

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Watch out for the episode here.

Nicole Hannah Jones

This YT video features Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times and creator of The 1619 Project Podcast . In the video, Hannah-Jones speaks about the inconsistencies of the key narratives about where universal Human Rights comes from.

Prompt Questions for Reflection:

Who do these rights then apply to when we talk/think about them?

Were human rights always universal or did our conception or understanding of them change over time encompass the whole of humanity?

How might the claims or assumptions we make about human rights and its origins end up exclusionary? 

When looking at Canada’s constitution, did we consider everyone in our own charter? How might Canada’s own practice and polices on human rights reflect elements of the same inequalities as in the United States?  

Prof. Samuel Moyn's lecture featuring a guest, Prof. Justin Hansford

Entitled, "Is Black Lives Matter a Human Rights movement?” The talk (dated 2017) is part of a series of talks that 1L students are Harvard attend and it’s called the Diversity and Social Justice Series.

Prompt Questions for Reflection:

What is the human rights origin story you are the most familiar with?

How has it shaped your notions of what human rights are and who they belong to?

How does knowing about the connections mentioned in the video (the American civil rights leader, Malcolm X’s strategic advice to newly formed African states to use IHR) challenge some of our assumptions about how human rights came to be recognized as universal?