Experts will address the nature and meaning of human rights and related policies, violations, and conditions around the world during a September symposium at Grinnell College. Sponsored by the College’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights, the symposium will kick off a year-long series of programs and events about human rights.
“Human rights is one of the three core emphases of the 30-year-old Rosenfield Program,” said Sarah Purcell, program director and associate professor of history. “We will examine human rights throughout the year’s events—from the origins of the concept to current perspectives on the nature of human rights in international relations.”
Grinnell students will also have opportunities to apply the Rosenfield programming to coursework through the College’s Expanding Knowledge Initiative. Interdisciplinary courses in anthropology, history, political science, and global development studies will encourage students to examine the relationship of human rights to issues of justice, environment, health and illness, poverty, and technology.
The September symposium events include:
- Wed., Sept. 2, 4:15 p.m.:
- New Yorker writer and author Jane Mayer will open the symposium with observations from her best-selling book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. Prior to joining The New Yorker, Mayer was White House correspondent for the Wall St. Journal. She is also the author of Strange Justice and Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988, about the Reagan Administration’s involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair.
- Wed., Sept. 2, 8 p.m.:
- Dr. Michael Grodin, professor of health law, bioethics, and human rights at Boston University School of Public Health, will discuss “Human Rights and Health: The Inextricable Link.” Grodin has conducted research on the mental health aspect of human rights violations in his roles as director of the Project on Medicine and the Holocaust at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies and in community medicine and psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine.
- Thurs., Sept. 3, 11 a.m.:
- Lynn Hunt, professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, will deliver the Scholars’ Convocation on “Inventing Human Rights,” also the title of her 2007 book. Hunt teaches French and European history at UCLA, where her research specialties include the French Revolution, gender history, cultural history, and historiography.
- Wed., Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m.:
- Jack Donnelly, Andrew Mellon Professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies, will offer perspectives on “Human Rights and Human Dignity.” Donnelly teaches human rights and political theory. He will offer an additional question and answer period on Thurs., Sept. 17 at 11 a.m.
- Wed., Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.:
- Associate Director of Human Rights Watch Carroll Bogert will discuss “How the Collapse of the U.S. Media is Affecting Human Rights.” Human Rights Watch is a nongovernmental organization of global experts who produce reports on conditions, violations and policies around the world. Bogert, a former international journalist, will be on the Grinnell campus as part of the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow program, which brings prominent scholars to college campuses for residencies to interact with students and faculty. She will also address “The War on Terror and Human Rights: Obama’s Record so Far” on Thurs., Sept. 24 at 4:15 p.m.
All symposium events, which are free and open to the public, will be held in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center unless otherwise noted. For more information about the Rosenfield Program, contact Sarah Purcell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 641-269-3091.