Afterword - Decolonising utopia

To date, modernist thinking has dominated the interdisciplinary field of intellectual inquiry engaged with utopia and utopianism. In this article, I argue that in order to fully engage with the possibility of different utopias emerging in the early decades of the 21st century, we have to be prepared to decolonise the premise on which utopian imaginings are conventionally based.

Victims’ rights, victim collectives and utopic disruption at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

This article examines victim participation at Cambodia’s hybrid tribunal, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The tribunal — which attempts to bring former Khmer Rouge to justice for crimes committed between 1975 and 1979 — has invited significant participation by ‘victims’ and has provoked new public debate about the past, ongoing suffering and reparation. The participation of collectives of victims, and the collective nature of their participation, are here considered as interventions in the immanent utopic processes of the ECCC.

Crooked lines: utopia, human rights and South Asian women’s writing and agency

My article focuses on the relationship between human rights and utopia with special focus on South Asia and women's writing and agency. Utopia offers possibilities to capture, in writing and practice, the impossible good place. Utopia has the dimension of the anticipatory consciousness, but also the impulse to narrativise that not-yet. Human rights too have a dual impulse of a strong drive to articulate a desired set of norms, while knowing that their actualisation is partly elusive.

Framing human dignity: visual jurisprudence at South Africa’s Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court of South Africa is a unique space by international comparison because it houses a large visual art collection developed by and for the court. The purpose of this article is to look at the connections between human dignity and art at the Constitutional Court. Is the performance of dignity in the art collection a utopian ideal, achievable objective, or unrealised potential?

Realising rights here and now

A focus on utopia risks obscuring complexities in the process of realising human rights in time through institutions of governance. This article recounts judicial rituals by which judges delay the coming into effect of their conclusion that a law violates human rights. Here the more ‘radical’ approach involves insisting on rights’ enforcement now. The article also addresses a controversy around the moment when a right began to produce legal effects that bind governments.

On the genealogy of human rights: an essay on nostalgia

On the genealogy of human rights: an essay on nostalgia nostalgia

Introduction - Human rights, interdisciplinarity and the time of utopia

This article explores the relationship between human rights and utopian thinking through three recurrent tropes: interdisciplinarity, time and the promise. Utopia, like human rights, is shaped by its interdisciplinary engagement with multiple fields of knowledge, by its invocation of the past, present and future as ways of addressing contemporary problems, and by a promissory language, often unfulfilled, of social change and betterment.

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