Call for papers

Interdisciplinary Academic Conference on Human Rights
Crossing the Boundaries: the place of human rights in contemporary scholarship

(please note that the deadline for this call has now passed)

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.

The conference aims to further the latter agenda by applying, simultaneously, different fields of knowledge and understanding to substantive areas of concern such as poverty and genocide.

The organisers seek contributions from anthropology, government and politics, international relations, law, philosophy, sociology, international social policy and other disciplines and fields in the social sciences with a view to stimulating debate on the interdisciplinary study of human rights.


The conference invites papers from any discipline within the social sciences that reflect upon the following substantive, and currently compelling, issues within the field of human rights:

  • Health: HIV/AIDS
  • Poverty
  • Torture
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Civil liberties
  • Genocide

Proposals for papers on other topics not listed above are also encouraged and will be given equal consideration by the selection panel.

Please submit a title for your paper, an abstract of no more than 500 words and a brief curriculum vitae (of no more than two sides in length). Minimally, your paper should locate your substantive interest within a disciplinary perspective whilst also sketching out the strengths and - equally importantly - the limits of your perspective. Each paper that is accepted will be the subject of comments by a discussant whose task it will be to draw out the potential for interdisciplinarity from your remarks

Click here to download the PDF of the call for papers (PDF)