Alexandre Lefebvre - Human Rights and the Care of the Self - Thursday 28th June

To be launched by Professor Duncan Ivison and Associate Professor Ben Golder

When we think of human rights we assume that they are meant to protect people from serious social, legal, and political abuses and to advance global justice. In Human Rights and the Care of the Self Alexandre Lefebvre turns this assumption on its head, showing how the value of human rights also lies in enabling ethical practices of self-transformation. Drawing on Foucault's notion of "care of the self," Lefebvre turns to some of the most celebrated authors and activists in the history of human rights–such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Henri Bergson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Charles Malik–to discover a vision of human rights as a tool for individuals to work on, improve, and transform themselves for their own sake. This new perspective allows us to appreciate a crucial dimension of human rights, one that can help us to care for ourselves in light of pressing social and psychological problems, such as loneliness, fear, hatred, patriarchy, meaninglessness, boredom, and indignity.

"Alexandre Lefebvre is a unique voice in the humanities, one who takes up topics of enormous difficulty and does so with such tremendous erudition and fundamental insight that it is almost as if he is having a friendly discussion with the reader. Lefebvre claims that improving oneself rather than helping strangers is what the idea of human rights is all about and always has been—a claim that he pulls off with considerable brilliance. His reconstruction of human rights discourse in the 1940s is the truest that has ever been presented. Reading this remarkable book provided the most intellectually enjoyable hours that I can remember in a long time.” — Samuel Moyn, Yale University
RSVP

Date and time: Thursday 28th June, 6pm for 6.30pm

Please RSVP here or phone 02 9660 2333

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