Aug 09 2014

Lecture Announcement: Karen-Margrethe Simonsen speaks on “The Comedey and the Politics of Natural Rights”

Posted at 4:34 pm under archived,Uncategorized

Thumb SimonsonWe are happy to announce  our next focus lecture within the context of this year’s Osnabrück Summer Institute on the Cultural Study of the Law. Prof. Karen-Margrethe Simonsen will talk about “The Comedy and the Politics of Natural Rights” on Tuesday, 12 August 2014, at 6 pm in room 11/212.

Karen-Margrethe Simonsen is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Research Group “Humanistic Studies of Human Rights” at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her research focuses on law and literature, justice in classic literary texts, world literature, and human rights.

Abstract: This talk will argue that comedy is an apt genre for reflections on the political functions of human or natural rights. The premise is that human or natural rights is a discourse appropriated both by perpetrators and victims. Therefore, in order to understand how rights work within a political context one needs to analyze the ‘relation’ between dominant and dominated. Comedy is especially apt at this as it is a genre hugely occupied with power and the downfall of power. I will take my point of departure in Lope de Vega’s comedy “The New World Discovered by Christopher Columbus” from 1598-1603. Theoretically, this talk is mainly inspired by Alenka Zupančič and Etienne Balibar. A supplementary argument is that by looking at this early history of natural rights, we can modify our understanding of the modernity of human rights.

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