A Q&A with Autumn 2020 Human Rights Professors

With course registration for Autumn Quarter set to begin, we wanted to give students a chance to learn about the kinds of things you can’t find out by reading a course description. Read on for a lightning round Q&A with some of the great professors who will be teaching Human Rights courses this Autumn!



Kyla Bourne (Constitutional Rights to Liberty and Procedural Due Process in Chicago) 

What books are on your nightstand?

“Momo, oder Die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte” by Michael Ende. I’ve been trying to learn German by reading Michael Ende’s amazing children’s novels from the 1970s. I recently finished “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss, which had top-notch fantasy and world-building. I also tend to have a couple weeks’ worth of New Yorkers to catch up on, and I devour Star Trek fanfiction online.

How do you organize the books on your bookshelves? 

By colour. 

If you could have dinner with anyone—living or dead—who would it be?

Emma Goldman.

If your teaching style was a song, what would it be?

For the subject matter of this class: “Rotting on Remand” by Billy Bragg. For qualitative methods: “Moonshot” by Buffy St. Marie. For quantitative methods: generic lo-fi hip-hop to study/relax/chill.

What is your favorite Hyde Park season?

I love firefly season. 
 

Kathleen Cavanaugh (Militant Democracy and the Preventative State; The Politics of Human Rights Law)

What books are on your nightstand?

None! Not the answer an academic is meant to give, but on my nightstand right now is a pile of Guardian newspapers from last week.  

How do you organize the books on your bookshelves? 

By topic—which range anywhere from Islamic Law to the poetry of Seamus Heaney!

If you could have dinner with anyone—living or dead—who would it be?

It would not be someone famous but a friend, Christine Loudes, who died in 2016. Christine was a scholar, an activist, an advocate and this incredible spirit who is missed every day.  

If your teaching style was a song, what would it be?

This should be a multiple choice question. I use a Socratic method of teaching; I want to encourage students to participate, challenge, and push back on conventions and ideas. If someone has a musical accompaniment for that, send on!

Which Hyde Park season are you most looking forward to?

Any, as long as I can still feel my fingers and toes. My last visit to Chicago involved sub-zero temperatures.
 

Amy Krauss (Human Rights in World Civilizations II)

What books are on your nightstand?

Rings of Saturn byWG Sebald
The Art of Cruelty by Maggie Nelson
El Hacedor by Jorge Luis Borges

How do you organize the books on your bookshelves? 

I put the books that are most important to me personally together on a shelf in the living room. This group changes over time, and includes all kinds: academic, novels, children’s stories, and poetry. I also set aside the books I’m currently working with for teaching and writing. Then there’s the bookshelf of the temporarily forgottens.

If you could have dinner with anyone—living or dead—who would it be?

Eva Hesse, an artist who died when she was 34. Also, Michaela Coel!

If your teaching style was a song, what would it be?

I don’t know... probably something a little strange with collective voices, and hopefully some kind of memorable beat.

What is your favorite Hyde Park season?

I like all the seasons by the lake.
 

Ben Laurence (Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations; Human Rights in World Civilizations I)

What books are on your nightstand?

Susan Stewart, The Ruins Lesson: a meditation on the aesthetics of ruins; Phillip K. Dick’s Exegesis: lengthy excerpts from his obsessive meditations on his strange religious experience (possibly a stroke), as a result of which he came to believe he was essentially a character undergoing metaphysical capers in one of his own novels; Kim Newman’s Life’s Lottery, a piece of experimental, interactive fiction—like a grown-up choose your own adventure book; and The Wrenchies, by Farel Dalrymple, a visually arresting graphic novel about child gangs in a post-apocalyptic world where all adults are demons.

How do you organize the books on your bookshelves? 

My most serious bookshelf, the one with all the philosophy on it, I organize alphabetically by author. Commentaries on authors are organized by the name of the person the book is about, after that person’s own works, then alphabetically by the author of the commentary. For less serious (and much smaller) bookshelves, I organize them by subject, aesthetics, and what book will fit where. I have a bookshelf where this Tokyo alley scene is tucked away in it.   

If you could have dinner with anyone—living or dead—who would it be?

This is a tough one. Possibly Socrates (obvious, boring choice, I know), or Marx (also obvious). I would like to have dinner with them at a dinner party though where drinks were flowing—I think they would be messy and fun as the night got on.

If your teaching style was a song, what would it be?

I’d like to think it was David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream. But, more realistically, it’s probably Andrew Bird’s A Nervous Tick Motion of the Head to the Left

What is your favorite Hyde Park season?

Autumn. Autumn is cool and beautiful, and because of the quarter system, we’re not teaching yet. I like to run north, along the lake in September, although I’m not sure my knees can handle another season.
 

Tara Zahra (Human Rights in World Civilizations Core sequence)

What books are on your nightstand?

Family Secrets by Deborah Cohen
Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future by Kate Brown
Dancers Among Us (A book of dance photographs)
The Magic Years by Selma H. Fraiberg

How do you organize the books on your bookshelves? 

Alphabetically (boring, I know)

If you could have dinner with anyone—living or dead—who would it be?

This week, I might choose a character in the book I’m working on, like Rosika Schwimmer, a Hungarian pacifist/feminist.

If your teaching style was a song, what would it be?

This is too hard. Everything I can think of could have a double meaning!

What is your favorite Hyde Park season?

Definitely summer!