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The Humanities Institute became home in 2011-2012 to the UC Davis Human Rights Initiative (HRI) after


Keith David Watenpaugh, a historian of the Modern Middle East who teaches in the Religious Studies Pro- gram, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Academic Senate’s Committee on Research to launch the pro- gram. “The study of the human condition is very much a part of the way the humanities are understood at the In- stitute,” Watenpaugh explained. “Bringing the HRI to the Institute makes the point that the history, theory and practice of human rights has a role in the humanities, and humanists, be they historians, artists, or anthro- pologists, have a role in the protection and promotion of human rights.” Watenpaugh hopes to bring more shape and orga-


nization to the study of human rights at UC Davis and other academic institutions across the region by bring- ing together faculty and graduate students for greater collaboration and conversations around the topic. To do this, the Initiative hosted a Human Rights Symposium in Winter 2012 exploring the contested histories of hu-


man rights to better understand current debates about the history of human rights, their violation and protec- tion. Among the questions posed: Where do human rights come from? What role have they played in post- World War II anti-colonial struggles? How has human rights discourse changed after 1989 and the end of the Cold War? In Fall 2012, the Initiative will build on the themes of the symposium with a faculty research semi- nar that brings together faculty members from an array of disciplines to continue the conversation.


In 2012-2013, the Human Rights Initiative will ex-


tend the conversation to other UCs after Watenpaugh was awarded funding for a UC Multicampus Research Group, administered through the UC Humanities Network, called “Re-envisioning the Human: Human Rights and Humanitarianism across the Humanities and Social Sciences: The UC Human Rights Collabora- tion.”


HUMAN RIGHTS c o l l a b o r a t i o n s initiative


38 d h i . u c d a v i s . e d u


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