Corbin Treacy, a graduate student in French, has teamed up with the Human Rights Program in developing his dissertation research through the prestigious Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship. Closely tied to human rights, Treacy's research integrates theories, methodologies and technologies from multiple disciplines to examine Algeria's tumultuous public life following the country's independence from France in 1962, exploring the landscapes of Algeria's political climate, economy, and intellectual culture, in addition to theories of memory, transitional justice, and historiography. Treacy particularly studies how literary works are shaped by cultural violence, and literature's capacity to reimagine and reshape culture, interrupting cycles of violence.
November 2013 Archives
In 2010, the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan organized a conference that examined broad questions surrounding the topic of human rights: how has the content of human rights evolved over time, what role have human rights organizations played in drawing attention to emerging issues, how did the application of human rights norms come to be extended from states to a variety of non-state actors, how can we understand the evolving notions of "accountability," and how have human rights fact-finding and advocacy methods developed and changed?
On November 15th, Professor Kathryn Sikkink, a Regents Professor at the U of M, presented findings from her book The Justice Cascade at the Symposium on the Nuremberg Trials and the World's Response to Genocide. This Symposium "addressed the importance of the Nuremberg trials for the rule of law...and featured a panel of top scholars who discussed the role of an international criminal court and the challenges of an international response to genocide." Sikkink's presentation centered on the future of human rights prosecutions on both an international and domestic scale, examining Nuremberg as a momentous advancement in human rights prosecutions and connecting it to today's tribunals.
On Monday November 4th, the U of M was visited by South African scholar Janis Grobbelaar, who spoke about her experiences working on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission following the fall of the Apartheid government. The TRC's mission was to establish facts and gather information but not to punish or judge the offenders, which created a complex ethical scenario. Ultimately, those who confessed to complicity or involvement in some of Apartheid's worst crimes were pardoned, due to the possibility of amnesty for those who were willing to confess. Notably, no apologies were required in order for someone to be eligible for amnesty, leaving many with the impression that justice was not served. Professor Grobbelaar discussed the important social trends that characterize the modern South African state, many of which stem back to this legacy of segregation and the difficult, but successful transition into democracy.
On October 31st, 2013 Badzin Fellow and PhD Sociology candidate Wahutu Siguru presented his latest work on his dissertation at the Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Violence Workshop hosted by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and sponsored by the Human Rights Program. Wahutu's dissertation will examine the politics of representation surrounding the depiction of genocide, mass violence and atrocity in the media, particularly exploring African perspectives on Darfur and Rwanda through a comparative lens. During his talk, Wahutu provided background on his subject, and discussed his methodologies, his working analysis, and several conundrums and challenges in his research. A discussion filled with insightful comments followed and added rich dimension to Wahutu's presentation.
On Friday, November 1st, Archana Pandya, Researcher and Hubert Fellow, presented her research findings from Mumbai, where she investigated the essential role played by local human rights organizations (LHROs) in the developing world. LHROs are a key component of international human rights infrastructure; however, very few studies have focused on these organizations, let alone their legitimacy and sustainability. Drawing on data collected in Mumbai between 2010 and 2012, Ms. Pandya discussed her research of the LHRO community there, analyzing how LHROs are perceived by the general population, how they sustain themselves, and what relationships they have with other local actors.
Aoife O'Connor, a senior on the Human Rights Program Student Advisory Board, is involved in a variety of human rights efforts outside of her classes and her work on the board. In addition to her contributions to the HRP, Aoife also has dedicated herself to her work at The Aurora Center on the U of M campus, where she is an advocate, educator, and a Certified Sexual Assault Crisis Councilor. The Aurora Center provides a safe and confidential space for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and family members or friends affiliated with the University of Minnesota, TC or Augsburg College who are victims/survivors/concerned people of sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking.
Paula Sofia Cuellar Cuellar joined the minor program this semester, and is sure to bring much to the program, as her extensive past experience working in human rights and her rich reservoir of expertise will add dimension and perspective to her studies and the studies of her colleagues. Prior to enrolling in the minor program, Paula worked at the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice in El Salvador as a judicial clerk. Paula has participated in much activism on transitional justice issues, including her involvement with the International Tribunal for the Application of Restorative Justice in El Salvador, and has also collaborated with an initiative of the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Center for Justice and Accountability. She has applied her passion for human rights in her work at the Central American University "José Simeón Cañas" as a researcher for the law department, and is currently working as a research assistant at Notre Dame University.
Few human rights activists the world over rival the awe-inspiring strength and perseverance embodied by Susana Trimarco. An unwilling heroine, she was catapulted into her role as the figurehead for the fight against human trafficking in Argentina when her daughter Marita was kidnapped on April 3, 2000 in a tragically common incidence of disappearance. As she began to uncover the depth of corruption and collusion between Argentinian authorities and the trafficking ring, what had started as a personal quest to find her daughter soon became a crusade to fight the trafficking of women throughout all of Argentina.