The City College of New York

The series of lectures, conversations, film showings, exhibitions, and courses brings together faculty, students, and staff at CCNY and the New York City community to examine human rights through multiple lenses.



Call for Proposals

Critical Perspectives on Human Rights Conference, New York City, 2019

The City College of New York, CUNY, invites submissions for its Critical Perspectives on Human Rights Conference, March 13-15, 2019.

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 70th birthday on December 10, 2018. Since that statement of principles following the mass atrocities of WWII, the world has witnessed the spread of human rights discourse, norms, law, and institutions at both the domestic and international levels. Eleanor Roosevelt’s prediction that “a curious grapevine” would spread the ideas articulated in that 1948 General Assembly document seems to have come to fruition. Nevertheless, the aspirations of the Declaration remain far from fulfilled, as grave violations of rights continue to be perpetrated around the globe, often with impunity.  Economic inequality, racism, and multiple refugee crises have engendered and exacerbated the rise of political extremism.  Addressing such issues, as well as many others, the Critical Perspectives on Human Rights Conference aims to explore the contested legacy of human rights in increasingly uncertain times.  It seeks to foster dialogue and scholarship from a wide range of perspectives.  Conference organizers invite papers from scholars and activists who continue to view the human rights project as a moral and ethical challenge to power as well as from those who see it as an enabler of political and economic domination. The Critical Perspectives on Human Rights Conference welcomes proposals that reassess the origins, foundations, and contemporary forms of human rights discourse, ideas, and practice today, seventy years on.  

Conference organizers will prioritize proposals that fall within these ten broad thematic areas:

Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights

Politics and Ethics of Human Rights Practice

Critical Theory and Human Rights

Media and Human Rights in the Digital Age

Changing Forms of Warfare and the Challenge to Human Rights

The Future(s) of Human Rights

Basic Needs and Human Rights

Women's Rights as Human Rights

Health and Human Rights

Migration and Human Rights


Submission of proposals:

Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract of no more than 300 words, and a one-page CV. These should be submitted through the conference website no later than December 31st, 2018 (new extended deadline).

Panel proposals should include a title, a panel abstract of no more than 500 words, three to four paper abstracts of no more than 300 words each, and a one-page CV for each participant, including the panel chair and/or commentator.

Presentations: Panels will be 90 minutes in length, and papers should be no more than 20 minutes each.

Individual submission: click here.

Panel proposals: click here.

Registration Fees:

The regular conference registration fee is $150.00. Early registration by December 31st, 2018 is $125.00

The fee for students is $75.00. Early bird registration by December 31st, 2018 is $60.00.

The registration fee will be waived for CUNY participants (faculty, staff, and students). 

** Graduate students must present a valid student ID at the registration desk. 


Organizing Committee

Kathlene McDonald (Chair, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences)

Rajan Menon (Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair, Political Science)

Juan Carlos Mercado (Dean, Division of Interdisciplinary Studies)

Eric Weitz (Distinguished Professor, History)


Planning Committee

Carlos Aguasaco (Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences)

Bruce Cronin (Chair, Political Science)

Dee Dee Mozeleski (Senior Advisor, President's Office)

Susanna Rosenbaum (Director, MA Program in the Study of the Americas)

Irina Carlota Silber  (Chair, Anthropology, Gender Studies, and International Studies) 

Justin Williams (Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences)

Martin Woessner (Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences)

Danielle Zach (Visiting Assistant Professor, Adelphi University; Patai Fellow, Division of Interdisciplinary Studies)


Conference Location:

25 Broadway, 7th Floor

The City College of New York, Center for Worker Education

Division of Interdisciplinary Studies

New York, NY 1004


For details and information please contact:

Danielle Zach, PhD