Teaching Human Rights in Literary and Cultural Studies
Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the discourse of human rights has expanded to include not just civil and political rights but economic, social, cultural, and, most recently, collective rights. Given their broad scope, human rights issues are useful touchstones in the humanities classroom and benefit from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural pedagogy in which objects of study are situated in historical, legal, philosophical, literary, and rhetorical contexts. Teaching Human Rights in Literary and Cultural Studies is a sourcebook of inventive approaches and best practices for teachers looking to make human rights the focus of their undergraduate and graduate courses.
Contributors first explore what it means to be human and conceptual issues such as law and the state. Next, they approach human rights and related social-justice issues from the perspectives of particular geographic regions and historical eras, through the lens of genre, and in relation to specific rights violations—for example, storytelling and testimonio in Latin America or poetry created in the aftermath of the Armenian genocide. Essays then describe efforts to cultivate students' capacity for ethical reading practices and to deepen their understanding of the stakes and artistic dimensions of human rights representations, drawing on active learning and experimental class contexts. The final section, on resources, directs readers to further readings in history, criticism, theory, and literary and visual studies and provides a chronology of human rights legal documents.
About the Authors
Alexandra Schultheis Moore is associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is the author of Regenerative Fiction: Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis, and the Nation as Family and editor, with Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg, of Theoretical Perspectives on Human Rights and Literature and, with Goldberg and Greg Mullins, of a special issue of College Literature on human rights and cultural forms.
Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg is professor of English at Babson College. Author of Beyond Terror: Gender, Narrative, Human Rights, she edited Theoretical Perspectives on Human Rights and Literature with Alexandra Schultheis Moore and a special issue of Peace Review on the film and literature of human rights. Her many articles on human rights, gender studies, and literature can be found in edited volumes and in journals such as Callaloo, Humanity, and South Atlantic Review.
"The time for human rights and literature has clearly come. In this field, Goldberg and Moore are among the most qualified to edit a volume for the MLA Options for Teaching series. The collection will help to expand thinking—and questions—about these interdisciplinary studies." —Domna Stanton, Graduate Center, City University of New York
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