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TLI: Signature Lecture: Professor Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard Kennedy School -...

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Council Room, 2nd Floor, King's Building

King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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Evidence for Hope. Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century

This is a public lecture by Professor Kathryn Sikkink (Harvard Kennedy School of Government and RadcliffeInstitute for Advanced Study) on the topic of her most recent book, Evidence for Hope. Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century (Princeton University Press, 2018).

The book makes the case that human rights law and institutions do work contrary to the rising chorus of criticism that the movement is in serious jeopardy and suffers from severe legitimacy and effectiveness deficits.

Such criticisms, according to Sikkink’s arguments, are based on a flawed history of human rights ideas as having emerged in North America and Europe and then imposed on developing southern nations (“Western imperialism”) and on empirically unsupported claims that no progress has been made through human rights law and institutions.

The lecture will also feature a comment by Professor Stephen Hopgood, author of The Endtimes of Human Rights, with whom Sikkink engages in several parts of her book.

Some of the questions to be addressed in this event include:

Are human rights laws and institutions a product of Western countries? Even if this were the case, would that make them necessarily illegitimate? Are they imposed on the rest of the world?

Are human rights laws and institution effective? How can we know? What yardstick should we use? Are human rights more effective in some places and areas than others?

Should we keep investing in human rights as a useful instrument to achieve social progress or are there other more promising strategies?


The 2018-2019 Signature Lectures at the Transnational Law Institute at King’s College London are dedicated to these broad topics of inclusion and exclusion and, in particular, to the longstanding contention that law is both complicit and instrumental in silencing critique and empowering resistance and change. Cloaked in transcendent principles of universality, law should be and often is able to help, but also often fails the most vulnerable, most marginalised and most disempowered people.

This failure is often of law’s implementation, but also of law’s blindness and deafness to the plight of vulnerable groups, whose stories are rarely told and heard.

Building on the approach of KTLS18 (www.transnationallawsummit.org) we are inviting not only legal scholars, but academics, thinkers and doers from all quarters to join the debate and help us uncover and publicise the suppressed stories that may lead to legal developments and social change.

The 2018-2019 lectures are made possible by the generous gift of Sir Dickson Poon in support of the Transnational Law Institute and are open to the interested public.

All events are followed by a reception.

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Location

Council Room, 2nd Floor, King's Building

King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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