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25900 : Digitizing Human Rights

Description: American politics and society continue to be beset by the reverberations of “alternative facts” and the logics of “both sides.” One effect of these deployments is to mobilize relativism against human rights norms in ways that are both new and familiar. Moreover, the increasing digitization of our lives introduces profound and similarly destabilizing departures from the circumstances under which human rights were originally conceived, and itself calls for revisiting their foundations. This seminar will do so in a unique way. The class will produce an annotated, digital "declaration" of human rights that explores theoretical foundations for each provision. Annotations will draw on a broad array of philosophical traditions and contextualize current issues and debates. Students will thereby radically re-think what such a declaration should encompass and why. We will also problematize the document itself to build into our work a consideration of the digital form through which we are thinking and representing claims about humanity, morality, truth, and justice, for example, that are entailed in the project of “human rights.” What are the visual, spatial, auditory, and other potentials of such a declaration, and how do we attend to and reflect the radicality of the project project in the design of the document itself? The class will meet both in small groups and the larger seminar to refine the provisions and annotations, review progress, and shape the document as a whole.

Instructor(s): Nick Briz, Jennifer

Offered: Spring 2022

Category: Elective