CfP: Human Rights and Change

Kadir Has Üniversitesi, Istanbul
16 – 18 June 2014

A joint conference organized by:

Human Rights Section, International Studies Association
Human Rights Section, American Political Science Association
Human Rights Research Committee, International Political Science Association
Standing Group on Human Rights and Transition, European Consortium for Political Research

In association with:
Kadir Has Üniversitesi
Academic Council on the United Nations System

The human rights sections of the American Political Science Association, the European Consortium for Political Research, the International Political Science Association, and the International Studies Association, are pleased to announce the third joint international conference on human rights, on the theme “Human Rights and Change” to take place 16-18 June 2014 at Kadir Has Üniversitesi in Istanbul. The conference will take place immediately before the annual meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (19 – 21 June), also in Istanbul (http://acuns.org/am2014/).

The so-called Arab Spring which began in early 2011 seemed to herald significant change in the human rights situation in the Middle East/North Africa, as well as broader regional and global political change. Yet, the changes have been highly ambiguous, both from a human rights perspective and a broader political perspective. The Arab Spring appears to be a product of significant normative and institutional change as well as a cautionary tale about the limits and ambiguities of change. This conference will address this theme of change – not only in the Middle East, but also globally. Thus, while there will be a number of panels and other events focused on the Middle East, a significant portion of the conference will deal with much broader contexts and issues, and paper submissions which address the broader theme in any context are welcome. We also welcome, and indeed actively encourage, participation from non-academics who are involved in human rights practice. Some of the questions to be addressed in the conference include:

• How do we understand change in the realm of human rights? What theoretical and conceptual perspectives do we have to help us analyse change?
• What is the relationship between broader geopolitical change and human rights development? Is human rights a product or a cause of such change?
• How do we explain changes in norms, laws and societies?
• Is change a top-down or bottom-up process?
• Has our understanding of human rights changed?
• Is human rights expansion a teleological process? Do we assume that it is?
• How do we deal with competing norms in times of flux?
• How have human rights been integrated (or not) into domestic legal and political orders?
• What role do human rights play in transitional justice processes?
• What explains the Arab Spring?
• How does the Arab Spring confirm or challenge current approaches to human rights development?
• What role of global and international actors played in fomenting or furthering the political dynamics of the Arab Spring?

The conference format will be a mixture of small panels with plenary keynote sessions. We hope that small panels will facilitate discussion and interchange among the participants, and the overall conference format will contribute to an intimate and relaxed experience.

The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2013. Notification of acceptances will be sent by e-mail by 15 January 2014.

Paper submission details can be found here (please note that proposals must relate to the theme of the conference to be considered): http://www.isanet.org/Conferences/HRIstanbul2014.aspx

The program chairs may be contacted at: humanrightsandchangeprogram@gmail.com

Organizing Committee:

Bethany Barratt (Roosevelt University)
Anthony Lang (University of St. Andrews)
Anja Mihr (Utrecht University)
Kurt Mills (University of Glasgow)
Chandra Sriram (University of East London)
Fusun Turkmen (Galatasaray University)

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