What are human rights?

Key human rights documents such as the Universal Declaration seem to reflect indisputably good aspirations shared by many peoples. Then why are so many human rights violations so common in our world? To truly understand what human rights are it is not enough to study them historically and in the abstract. We need to see how rights discourse works in the world today. Crucially, this project takes a critical approach to human rights, testing and critiquing the idea of human rights even as we acknowledge their immense value.


What is this collaboratory?

We built this website driven by the belief that to understand how human rights work today we need a broad set of voices and perspectives (especially marginalized, contestive, non-mainstream ones), complementing abstract knowledge with real, ground-level discussions, debates, information, experiments, opinions. This site uses technology to advance broad learning and teaching, aimed toward activism and social justice. It is only as good as people make it. We encourage you to join us and work with us.