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Human Rights Consortium Autumn 2012 Newsletter

The Human Rights Consortium brings together the multidisciplinary expertise in human rights found across the institutes of the School of Advanced Study. The Consortium provides a national and international collaborative centre for the support, promotion and dissemination of academic and policy work in human rights.

New Human Rights Consortium Director appointed We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Damien Short, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, as Director of the Human Rights Consortium. Damienis Assistant Editor of The International Journal of Human Rights (Taylor and Francis) and has recently guest edited the special issue of Sociology (Sage) on Human Rights (October 2012). Damien is delighted to be appointed Director of the Human Rights Consortium and welcomes the opportunity to continue the excellent work of the Consortium since 2009 in promoting and facilitating academic and policy work in human rights. Damien has started three new projects: the ecocide project, the extreme energy initiative and the indigenous peoples’ rights project - details of which can be found on the HRC website. The projects reflect Damien’s interest in the the impact environmental destruction has on human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples in particular.

New Staff Human Rights Projects Officer - Helle Abelvik-Lawson Helle Abelvik-Lawson was appointed in September as Human Rights Project Officer. Helle is a former student of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, having recently completed the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights. Helle will be developing projects and convening events in human rights for the forthcoming academic year. Helle has a professional background in academic journals publishing with Oxford University Press and has been the Communications Coordinator for Amnesty International UK Children’s Human Rights Network for over four years. She has a particular interest in business and human rights issues and their impact on indigenous peoples and minorities, particularly in Brazil and Latin America more widely. Refugee Law Initiative Research Coordinator - Mehrunnisa Yusuf Mehrunnisa Yusuf has been appointed as Refugee Law Initiative Research Coordinator (maternity cover). Mehrunnisa manages the RLI’s research promotion and facilitation activities. Prior to this she worked at the Commonwealth Secretariat as a Legal Support Officer. She has a background in human rights with professional experience in project management and the operationalisation of international legal commitments. Her research interests extend to the interaction between human rights and other disciplines such as human development, the rule of law and climate change.

Associate Fellows The Human Rights Consortium is delighted to announce that Dr. Eadaoin O’Brien (University of Essex) and Professor Heather Widdows (University of Birmingham) have joined the Human Rights Consortium’s Associate Fellows’ Network. Dr. O’Brien was formerly Graduate Fellow at the Human Rights Consortium. She is currently Lecturer in Human Rights at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. Dr. O’Brien’s publications include ‘Forensic science, international criminal law, and the duties toward persons killed in war’ in D.P. Keane and Y. McDermott eds., The Challenge of Human Rights: Past, Present and Future (Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012). She is currently preparing for publication a book on Constructing Forensic Evidence for International Criminal Trials: Legal, Social and Scientific Approaches (Ashgate), forthcoming 2013. She will be speaking at forthcoming HRC/Wiener Library event ‘ “The strongest possible terms?” the evolving role of parliamentary condemnations of atrocities past and present’ ( 19 November 2012 (S261, Senate House, 18.30). Heather Widdows is Professor of Global Ethics in the Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham where she teaches moral philosophy and bioethics. In 2005 she was awarded a visiting fellowship at Harvard University, where she worked on issues of moral neo-colonialism. She is Editor of the Journal of Global Ethics and series editor of The Edinburgh Series in Global Ethics and serves as a member of the UK Biobank Ethics and Governance Council. Her publications include Global Ethics, The Moral Vision of Iris Murdoch and edited collections on The Governance of Genetic Information, Women’s Reproductive Rights, and Global Social Justice in addition to articles and book chapters on all her areas of interest.

Fellows Two Visiting Fellows are joining the Human Rights Consortium in the autumn term. Dr. Daniel J. Whelan Dr. Whelan is Charles Prentiss Hough Odyssey Professor at Hendrix College (USA), where he teaches politics and international relations. Dr. Whelan’s recent publications include entries on Human Rights in The Oxford Companion to International Relations (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013) and Comparative Politics (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2012). While at the Human Rights Consortium, Dr. Whelan will explore a number of interrelated conceptual themes at the intersections of human rights, international development, and political economy which have emerged from his research and teaching since the publication of his book Indivisible Human Rights: A History (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010). Dr. Whelan is particularly interested in the way scholars, activists and practitioners frame the extent of state duties and obligations for development. He will closely examine the ‘right to development’ and the extent that the state can or should make obligatory certain development policies or outcomes. He is convening a four-part seminar series on the theme of human rights and development for the Consortium (details will be made available at These seminars will be free and open to all. Dr. Rebecca Stern Dr. Stern is Senior Lecturer in Public International Law at Uppsala University (Sweden) and Senior Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Sweden). Her particular research interests focus on refugee law and migration in international, EU and domestic law contexts. During her Fellowship, Dr. Stern will be based primarily within the Refugee Law Initiative, where she is pursuing research into the interpretation and implementation of the concept of subsidiary protection in UK case law and policy. This research will form part of her ongoing project ‘Overlapping protection or conflicting rules? A study of the concept of subsidiary protection in the context of Swedish, EU and international law’, funded by the Swedish Research Council. The aim of the research project is to contribute to the development of Swedish migration law and to analyse the impact of EU legislation on Sweden’s existing obligations under international law. Equally importantly, the project aims to contribute to the development of international migration law and its understanding of subsidiary protection. Dr. Stern has recently edited, with Professor Inger Österdahl, and contributed to, Folkrätten i svensk rätt (International Law in the Swedish Context) (Liber 2011). Dr. Stern presented her research in a seminar (Interpreting and Implementing Subsidiary Protection: A National, European and International Perspective) on the 15th October.

Human Rights Consortium (HRC) – Applications Now Open for Conference Grants The Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London, is pleased to announce its conference grant scheme for the academic year 2012-13. About this Call for Applications Applications are now sought for scholars at any level (early-career, mid-career or senior scholars) to convene academic conferences on the subject of human rights in its broadest sense, in any of the following disciplines or others cognate to the following: politics (domestic and/or international relations); history; economics; sociology;; development; policy-making; cultural studies; gender studies; anthropology; environmental studies; and law. The maximum grant awarded will be for £2,000.00 but it is recognized that small awards can sometimes make a substantive difference, and accordingly requests for small grants will also be entertained. Each conference may last for either one day or two days, but the budget available will be the same regardless of the duration. How to apply Applicants should fill in the Human Rights Consortium Conference Grants Cover Sheet and budget. In addition, applicants should include attachments making the following elements clear in order for applications to be considered. Other information may also be included where the applicant considers this to be relevant but the whole application should not exceed four sides of A4 paper (not including the Cover Sheet). 1. Details of organiser(s), convenor(s), speaker(s) including name, job title and institutional affiliation (C.V.s are not necessary at this stage.) If possible, please include titles or themes to papers to be presented. 2.

A clear statement of the proposed topic and rationale for the event

3. The expected dissemination or outreach of the proposed event and how lasting networks or future collaborations will be maintained 4.

An indication of the timing (month or academic term) of your proposed event


A statement on who the proposed event will appeal to, and why

6. An indicative budget for the event, including speakers’ travel and accommodation, venue/ facilities hire (where appropriate) and catering. Next Steps Please visit for further information and to download the appropriate forms. The deadline for applications is 12.30 on 02 January 2013. With regret, any application received after the deadline may not be considered. Applications should be submitted by email to Informal queries regarding the scheme may be directed by email to the HRC:

Call for Papers Human Rights Research Students’ Conference This one day conference on 20 November 2012 will be the first in a series, aimed at students working within the broad interdisciplinary field of human rights. The conference aims to stimulate research on contemporary human rights issues, problems, challenges and policies, and to facilitate the dissemination of such research. We are particularly interested in soliciting papers that move beyond standard academic approaches to embrace critically engaged scholarship. We encourage interdisciplinary research and debate and would welcome papers from many (and multiple) disciplines including Sociology, Anthropology, Law, Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Peace and Conflict Studies, Development Studies and History. Please send abstracts of up to 300-350 words to by 26 October 2012. Presenters will be asked to speak for 15-20 minutes on their research proposal and work to date. We welcome participation from students at any stage of their postgraduate research studies. Presenters will present their research in panels to be chaired by senior academics, who will also serve as discussants. For more information please visit

Events 02 November 2012, 18.00 - 20.00, G22/26 (ground floor), Senate House The Sociology of Human Rights journal launch The British Sociological Association’s Sociology of Rights Study Group is editing a Special Issue of the prestigious journal ‘Sociology’ on ‘Sociology and Human Rights’ which will be published by Sage in late October. The launch event will feature three presentations of papers featured in the special issue. 19 November 2012, 18.30 - 20.30, S261 (second floor), Senate House “The strongest possible terms”? the evolving role of parliamentary condemnations of atrocities past and present Speakers: Linda Melvern; Dr. Eadaoin O’Brien (University of Essex); Dr. Paul Dixon (Kingston University) This Parliament Week panel discussion marks the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Persecution of the Jews. Jointly organised by the Wiener Library and the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. In collaboration with the Wiener Library. 14 - 15 December 2012, 09.00 - 18.30, the Senate Room (second floor), Senate House Captivity and Culpability: The Disciplining Subject in the Literary and Cultural Imagination Societies often have ambiguous and even conflicting attitudes towards state institutions that fulfil normalising, reformatory, punitive or disciplinary functions. This unease is frequently represented in an ambivalence or a hostility not only towards those disciplined or incarcerated but also towards agents of those institutions. This conference aims to interrogate literary, filmic, popular cultural and artistic representations of the agents of those institutions, specifically in terms of guilt and culpability. In collaboration with the Institute for English Studies.

Human Rights Consortium Newsletter: Autumn 2012  

The autumn 2012 issue of the Human Rights Consortium newsletter

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