Session 3: Who is Human in the Age of Human Rights?

Following up from Session 2 in which we touched upon how Man as the representation of humanity came into being by looking at the history of cartography and Sylvia Wynter’s work on Haiti, we will now look at how Man manifested itself in legal terms, treaties and other legal documents. We will especially be focusing on Human Rights.

As we didn’t get to talk about liberalism in Session 2 we will be discussing the history of liberalism and many of the contemporary values associated with modern liberal democracy, such as freedom, rights and equality this week as well.

In preparation, we’re asking you to read, listen and/or do the following:

1) Sylvia Wynter “No Humans Involved: A letter to my colleagues” (1 hour, 20 minutes) or download the full version (27 pages) from Carmen Kynards Teaching and Research website

2) Jared Sexton “Don’t call it a comeback: racial slavery is not yet abolished”

And, if you haven’t had a chance to read Charles W. Mills, please do for this week:

3) Charles W. Mills’ Kant’s Untermenschen” (34 pages) or listen to the audio recording

4) Finally, we would like to ask you to look at Human Rights. How did they come into being? What are the different responses to & critiques of human rights?