The State of HUman Rughts ©nito/

BAA Conference 2018


Thursday, 5 July - Saturday, 7 July 2018

Since their proclamation in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights have become a dominant language in controversies over ethics around the globe and a normative basis for concepts of a just society and ideas of the public good. This concerns a variety of issues, from slavery and warfare through fights over indigenous rights and disputes over preserving the heritage of minorities to same sex marriage debates or current conflicts over asylum law and the status of refugees.


What is the state of human rights both within and exceeding the boundaries of the nation state and how can it be considered from a multidisciplinary angle? 


This conference offers perspectives from literary and cultural studies, history, political science, philosophy, sociology, and law, looking at historical controversies on human rights as well as at its current political and imagined state. Contributions reflect theoretical implications of interdisciplinary work on human rights agency and also take into account the significance of cultural texts in envisioning and critically reflecting the ‘state of human rights’. 


The BAA’s 2018 international conference investigates the role of human rights, both in diachronic and synchronic perspective and with an interdisciplinary research design. 



No conference fee - please register for participation at

Venue: Amerikahaus München, Barer Str. 19 a

Fon: +49 89 55 25 37-41 / -42



Preliminary Program (coming soon)

Abstracts & Bios Booklet (coming soon)




Preliminary Conference Program

Thursday, 5 July 2018

14:30 Registration


15.00 Young Scholars Panel: Human Rights

Chair: Kerstin Schmidt (University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt)

  • N.N. (University of )
    Title to be named
  • N.N. (University of )
    Title to be named


18.30 Conference Opening


  • Heike Paul, Director Bavarian American Academy, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Stephen Ibelli, U.S. Consulate General Munich                                                               

Award Ceremony: BAA Dissertation Award


19.00 Keynote Address

  • Saskia Sassen (Columbia University)
    Toward a New Language of Human Rights



Friday, 6 July 2018

09.00 Panel I: Inventing Human Rights in the Pre-Modern Era

Chair: Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat (University of Regensburg)

  • Micheline Ishay (University of Denver)
    Human Rights in the Age of Populism
  • Kerstin von Lingen (University of Heidelberg/ University of Vienna) 
    Title to be named 


10.30 Coffee Break


11.00 Panel II: Democracy and the Quest for Human Rights in Troubled Times
Chair: Jürgen Gebhardt (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Benjamin Gregg (University of Texas at Austin) 
    The Human Rights State Within And Beyond Sovereign Nations
  • Regina Kreide (University of Gießen) 
    Title to be named


12.30 Lunch Break


14.30 Panel III: 'Rights on Paper': Intersections between Literature and Human Rights

Chair: Kerstin Schmidt (University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt)

  • Crystal Parikh (New York University) 
    'I Haven't Come Back... I've Come Here': American Innocence and the Refugee Child
  • Greta Olson (University of Gießen) 
    From Law and Literature to Literature and Human Rights
  • Partin Puchner (Harvard University)
    Cultural Rights and World Literature


16.00 Coffee Break


16.30 Panel IV: The Cultural Imaginary of Human Rights from World War II to the War on Terror/in a Transatlantic Perspective

Chair: Heike Paul (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Gerd Hurm (University of Trier)
    Edward Steichen's 'Family of Men' in Feminist Perspective
  • Jane Lydon(University of Western Australia)
    Visualizing Human Rights and Constructions of Indigeneity


18.30 BAA Members Meeting (members only)


Saturday, 7 July 2017

10.00 Panel V: Civil Rights and Law

Chair: Erik Lehmann (University of Augsburg)

  • Thomas M.J. Möllers (University of Augsburg)
    Civil Rights and Law in the US and Germany: A Comparative and Critical View
  • Peter T. Wendel (Pepperdine School of Law)
    Civil Rights and Law in the US: Historical Roots and Recent Developments


12.00 Concluding Keynote

Chair: Heike Paul (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Heiner Bielefeldt (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)
    Human Rights: Practice and Philosophy


13.00 End of Conference

The 18th International Academy Conference is organized by the Bavarian American Academy (BAA) and supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the U.S. Consulate General Munich .