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Grand Challenges: Human Rights Politics and Policies: Lessons from Latin America

Grant Type: Individual Project Grant
Topics: Threats to Democracy
College Represented: ARHU

Grand Challenges Grants Program


Latin Americans have long deployed the language of human rights to defend democratic norms such as elections, free speech, and freedom from arbitrary arrest; to challenge racial, class, ethnic, and gender inequalities; and to protest the profit-driven despoilation of nature. The politics of rights generally, and of human rights specifically, have been central to Latin American history. Yet examples from Latin America are not well represented in the burgeoning historical scholarship on human rights. The result is an impoverished notion of how human rights have functioned in the past, how they are being used in the present, and how they can be deployed to imagine a more just future. This project will include two conferences, three articles, and an edited volume that provides a definitive history of human rights in Latin America and corrects overly broad criticisms of human rights movements made by scholars who work on the United States and Europe. The project will dispute criticisms of human rights by showcasing Latin Americans’ capacious human rights norms and their intersection with movements for the defense of natural environments, democratic norms, racial and ethnic equity, and economic justice.

PI: Karin Rosemblatt (ARHU),
Professor and Director of the
Center for Historical Studies

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