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OCCUPY YOUR HEALTH! SFSU 9th Annual Human Rights Summit: April 24th, 25th, & 26th 2012
ANTHROPOLOGY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Our aims include thinking critically about human rights - seeing them not as a given category, but as a set of conceptual frameworks through which political claims are made and socio-political transitions are accomplished. We consider the ways in which human rights are constituted as both a transnational discourse and a field of action, with the larger goal of understanding what contemporary human rights activism can tell us about the constraints and possibilities of political process and agency in late modernity.
What is a "human right"? How are human rights imagined, constructed, expressed and/or denied among different peoples of the world? How can human rights, as a universal measure of human dignity and self-fulfillment, be articulated and explored within a framework of cultural relativism? Can such rights even be universalized? How can a human right, once recognized, be enforced and protected?
While there is clearly no single, or right, answer, questions such as these can nevertheless serve as an impetus for deepening the discourse on human rights, and for promoting awareness, action, and engagement within both local and global communities. As students of a critical anthropology and advocates of social and ecological justice, it is our intention to open up dialogue and promote positive change through an active engagement in the generation and articulation of knowledge.
Dedicated to the promotion and protection of individual communities’ rights to define and defend their own contemporarily relevant conceptions of truth, freedom, and empowerment, we honor the notion that it is living culture, not theory, that anchors commonality. Within this framework, the preservation of human rights becomes not only the prerogative of scholars, policy makers, and political actors on the global stage, but emerges as the active responsibility of individuals within local arenas, who work together to deconstruct and renegotiate the parameters of our accountability as cognizant citizens of a dynamic world.