Questions of human rights are among the most pressing and intractable matters at this historical moment. If claims to human rights are by definition universal, the formulation, legislation, and implementation of them tend to be significantly less than universal. And Justice for All?
a special issue of SAQ
, examines the idea and the reality of human rights and their attendant discourses. The essays gathered here—from academics and activists working in law, philosophy, political theory, literature, medicine, and ngos—collectively interrogate these universal claims to human rights and the political justice that may or may not follow from them.
Grappling with the philosophical and theoretical questions at the heart of human rights, these essays take into consideration current political configurations such as sovereignty, genocide, humanitarian intervention, and the neglected domain of cultural rights (the right to a cultural identity). Drawing on Enlightenment thinking about human rights at the same time that they analyze the central concepts at work there—including the “humanity of man” and the nature of rights or of law—the contributors make a necessary intervention in a world system that Enlightenment thinkers could scarcely have envisioned.
Contributors. Etienne Balibar, Rony Brauman, Wendy Brown, Rebecca Comay, Jacques Derrida, Paul Downes, Werner Hamacher, Thomas Keenan, Susan Maslan, Jacques Rancière, Bruce Robbins, Avital Ronell, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Elsa Stamatopoulou, Slavoj Zizek