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Crossing the Boundaries: the place of human rights in contemporary scholarship

  • Interdisciplinary Academic Conference on Human Rights
  • Friday 24 March 2006, LSE

Conference abstract

The study of human rights challenges the boundaries between forms of knowledge and the various academic disciplines upon which it draws. In particular, thinking through the intellectual challenge that human rights presents demands that we combine the contribution of law - arguably its parent discipline - with the critical insights that have emerged from, for example, sociology, anthropology and political philosophy, amongst others. These 'perspectives' interpret and deploy differently various contemporary engagements, issues, discourses, and dilemmas of human rights. They focus on a variety of aspects, including the historical, economic, social and political contexts for the emergence of ideas about human rights and their various manifestations, and exist in a potentially fruitful tension with one another, each pointing up the limits of another.

By evaluating these various disciplinary contributions and the limits that each of these perspectives entail, the conference aims to generate discussion around two key issues:

  1. the place of the study of human rights in contemporary scholarship, and the importance to that study of a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary engagement, and
  2. the value or pay-off for understanding and furthering the agenda on human rights and the mechanisms of enforcement and control that might be generated by combining the diversity of disciplinary knowledge about human rights.

Conference texts available online