Human Rights Program Founders

Founding Faculty Board Members

Jacqueline Bhabha

Jacqueline Bhabha is FXB Director of Research, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She founded and directed the Human Rights Program from 1997 to 2001. Bhabha has published extensively on issues of transnational child migration, refugee protection, children’s rights and citizenship and serves on the board of the Scholars at Risk Network, the World Peace Foundation and the Journal of Refugee Studies.


Alison Boden

Rev. Dr. Alison L. Boden is Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel at Princeton University since 2007. Previously, she served twelve years as Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and Senior Lecturer in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, and as cochair of its Human Rights Program board. She has authored numerous works on religion in addition to her book, Women’s Rights and Religious Practice (Palgrave 2007). At Princeton and Chicago, her course offerings have included such topics as religion and human rights, the rights of women, and religion and violence. She engaged with the issue of women of faith as intentional agents of peacebuilding and security in partnership with numerous organizations, including Religions for Peace, the Institute for Global Engagement, UNFPA, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and the Carter Center.


James Chandler

James Chandler is the Barbara E. & Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor, Department of English, Department of Cinema & Media Studies and the College; Director, Franke Institute for the Humanities. Chandler was a founding member of the Human Rights Program and continues to serve on the Pozen Center faculty board. His research focuses on the Romantic movement, the history of the novel, relations between politics and literature, history and criticism, the Scottish Enlightenment and modern Irish literature and culture. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of many books, including An Archaeology of Sympathy: The Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema; The New Cambridge History of English Romantic Literature, ed.; and Romantic Metropolis: The Urban Scene in British Romanticism, 1780-1840.


Manuela Carneiro da Cunha

Manuela Carneiro da Cunha is a Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences in the College at the University of Chicago. She is a founding faculty board member of the Human Rights Program. Da Cunha has worked on research about indigenous Amazonian cultures, the re-emigration of freed slaves to West Africa in the nineteenth century and the history of Brazilian legislation and policy towards indigenous peoples from the 16th century to the present, focusing on ethnicity, history and myth. Da Cunha has also been deeply involved with indigenous rights in Brazil.


Norma Field

Norma Field is the Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, and a founding faculty board member of the Human Rights Program. She studies modern Japanese literature with an interest in the dialectical pursuit of structural and historical analyses and "naive" and "scholarly" responses. She is also interested in translation as interpretive, creative, and scholarly activity, feminism, all in the context of contemporary capitalism. Field is the author of The Splendor of Longing in the Tale of Genji, In the Realm of a Dying Emperor, and From My Grandmother's Bedside: Sketches of Postwar Tokyo. Her essay anthology, My Grandmother's Land, which includes several works originally written in Japanese, was recently published to wide acclaim in Japan.


Michael Geyer

Michael Geyer is the Samuel N. Harper Professor Emeritus of German and European History and the College at the University of Chicago. Geyer co-founded the Human Rights Program, and was faculty director from 2007-2013. He studies twentieth-century German and European history with an interest in the history and theory of human rights stemming from a concern with war, peace, and the constitution of civil society. He is working with transnational histories of Europe and exploring contemporary history in a global age. His scholarly work focuses on the question of rights—how people know that they have them and, equally important, that others have them too. He has written on such topics as the German military, resistance against the Third Reich, the politics of memory, the culture of death and sacrifice, intellectuals in contemporary Germany, religion and belief, and more.


Rashid Khalidi

Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and director of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Previously he taught at the University of Chicago and was a founding member of the Human Rights Program board. Khalidi currently serves as editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies. He is the author of a number of books, including The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood and Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America’s Perilous Path in the Middle East. His research includes the history of the modern Middle East, with an eye to the emergence of various national identities and the role played by external powers in their development. He also researches the impact of the press on forming new senses of community, and the role of education in the construction of political identity and in the way narratives have developed over the past centuries in the region.


Marvin Makinen

Marvin W. Makinen is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the College. He is a founding member of the Human Rights Program board, and still serves on the Board. He has served as a permanent consultant to the Swedish Foreign Ministry and the Swedish-Russian Working Group on the Fate of Raoul Wallenberg, (1991-2001); has been President (2009-2015) of the Independent Investigation into Raoul Wallenberg’s Fate, Inc., a tax-exempt organization dedicated to uncovering the truth behind Raoul Wallenberg's arrest by Soviet authorities and his fate as a prisoner in the Soviet Union and Russia; and he continues to pursue forensic archival research into the circumstances of Wallenberg’s arrest and imprisonment. His present scientific research is focused on the biochemistry of glycolysis in neoplastic tissue to enhance the sensitivity of cancer detection by positron emission tomography.


Adele Simmons

Adele Simmons is President of Global Philanthropy Partnership (GPP) and is active in Chicago civic affairs. She is a founding faculty board member of the Human Rights Program. Through GPP, Adele works to strengthen the infrastructure that supports global donors and her work on sustainable cities, including Chicago. She is a founder of Global Chicago and served as co-chair of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs studies group that produced “The Global Edge:  An Agenda for Chicago’s Future.” Simmons served as President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation between 1989 and 1999, overseeing the Foundation’s international program focus on the environment, population, international peace and security, understanding inequality within and among nations, and climate change. Simmons is a member of the Board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Field Museum, the Environmental Defense Action Fund, CERES, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Synergos Institute, and the American Prospect.


Geoffrey Stone

Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Stone joined the faculty in 1973, after serving as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.  Stone is a founding faculty board member of the Human Rights Program. He later served as Dean of the Law School (1987-1994) and Provost of the University of Chicago (1994-2002). Stone is the author of many books on constitutional law, including Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century; Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime; and Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Law Institute, the National Advisory Council of the American Civil Liberties Union, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Council for Democracy and Technology.

In Memoriam

Alan Gewirth

Alan Gewirth (1912-2004) was the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy. Gewirth forged a career at the University of Chicago lasting well over sixty years. He disproved the Golden Rule, but convinced many in a relativistic age that ethics could still be founded on reason. Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago Law, Divinity School, Philosophy, Classics and Political Science) said that Gewirth “brought the rigor of philosophical argument to the justification of human rights. By connecting human rights to the very possibility of human agency, he helped people from many different fields understand why rights are so important, and why social and economic rights must be included alongside civil and political rights.” Gewirth was a founding faculty board member of the Human Rights Program.


Robert H. Kirschner

Robert H. Kirschner, MD (1940-2002) was a clinical associate in the Department of Pathology and Pediatrics and a founding faculty board member of the Human Rights Program. Kirschner was an internationally recognized authority on forensic pathology, human rights violations, police brutality, torture, and child abuse, and an outspoken opponent of the death penalty. He also supported Asociacion Pro-Busqueda, a past project partner of the Human Rights Program, in their mission to reunite Salvadorean families with the children who disappeared or were adopted by US families during that country's civil war. Dr. Kirschner was also an expert witness in the civil rights case that brought the Chicago Police torture cases to public attention. 


Iris Marion Young

Iris Marion Young (1949-2006) was a Professor in Political Science at the University of Chicago from 2000, and a founding faculty board member of the Human Rights Program. Young was a leading philosopher called by a colleague “one of the most important political philosophers of the past quarter-century.” She was known for her work on theories of justice, democratic theory, and feminist theory. Known for her fierce commitment to social justice and her grassroots political activity on causes such as women’s human rights, debt relief for Africa, and workers’ rights, she was also “unsurpassed in her ability to combine a very high level of philosophical analysis with relevance to contemporary political issues, and to the experiences of women and men who cared about social injustice” (Associate Professor Patchen Markell, Political Science). Young’s books include Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy and Policy; Inclusion and Democracy; and On Female Body Experience, and her writings have been translated into more than twenty languages.