Envisioning New Practices of Human Rights

The Pozen Family Center for Human Rights is marking its 20th anniversary by deepening its commitment to human rights practice. To address the ever-shifting landscape of human rights concerns and practices, the Pozen Center plans to establish a human rights laboratory and install a director of human rights practice.

In order to envision how the Center will structure this expansive new initiative, an interdisciplinary faculty committee invited distinguished practitioners to campus for short-term residencies throughout the 2017-18 year. The varying expertise of the residents reflects a growing interest in the rights of immigrants and non-citizens, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, worker’s rights, policing, and public health as vital human rights questions. They also model new forms of human rights practices, notably how big data, new media, and social media have begun to reshape how states, NGOs, and social movements are making contemporary rights claims.

>>> Upcoming Residents
>>> Past Residents


Jasbir Puar | April 10-12

Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University.

A leading queer theorist, Puar is the author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2017) and The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (2017). More on Puar’s faculty page.

Event: Lunch with Jasbir Puar | Wednesday, April 11 | 11:30am-12:30pm | Students only | Location: TBA | Sign Up

Themes: Queer Studies, Disability, Palestine


Karyn Kaplan | October 9-11

Executive Director, Asia Catalyst

Kaplan has worked on health and human rights issues in Asia since 1988, when she moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and volunteered with a local sex worker rights group, EMPOWER. Since then, she has become a leading advocate on access to medicines, harm reduction, and global drug policy issues. More on the Asia Catalyst site.

Themes: LGBTQ, Health and Human Rights

Steven L.B. Jensen | October 30-November 2

Project Director and Researcher, Danish Institute for Human Rights

Jensen is the author of The Making of International Human Rights: The 1960s, Decolonization and the Reconstruction of Global Values. Jensen specializes in HIV/AIDS and human rights, human rights education and contemporary history and politics. More on Jensen’s faculty page.

Themes: HIV/AIDS, Health, Economic and Social Rights

Chase Strangio | November 6-8

Staff Attorney, ACLU, LGBT & HIV Projects

Strangio is former Director of Prison Justice Initiatives, Sylvia Rivera Law Project. More about the ACLU HIV and LGBT projects.

Themes: Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Rights, Incarceration

CSGS Lecture: Tuesday, November 7 / 5-7pm, “What Can the Law do for LGBT Rights?

Jason De León | November 8-10

Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan
Director, Undocumented Migration Project
Winner, 2017 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant

The Undocumented Migration Project (UMP) is a long-term study of clandestine border crossing that uses a combination of ethnographic, archaeological, and forensic approaches to understand this phenomenon in a variety of geographic contexts. De León is the author of Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail. More info on the UMP and De León.

Themes: Migration, Borders, Violence

Jay Aronson | January 23-25

Associate Professor of History and Director of the Carnegie Mellon Center for Human Rights Science

Aronson is the author of Who Owns the Dead? The Science and Politics of Death at Ground Zero. His research and teaching focus is on the interactions of science, technology, law, and human rights in a variety of contexts. More about Aronson and the Center for Human Rights Science.

Themes: Big Data, Human Rights Forensics

Iain Levine | January 29-31

Deputy Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

Levine oversees Human Rights Watch’s research and reporting work. He has particular expertise in humanitarian crises, protection of civilians in conflict, and children’s rights. Levine’s field experience includes more than ten years in Sudan and Mozambique working on humanitarian programs with particular emphasis on protection of children and other civilians. He has also worked as Amnesty International’s representative at the United Nations and UNICEF’s chief of humanitarian policy and advocacy. More about Levine.

Themes: Human Rights Reporting, Humanitarian Crisis

Saket Soni | January 31-February 2

Executive Director, National Guestworker Alliance and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice

The goal of Soni’s work is to change the way we view and treat all workers, by connecting the plight of low-wage immigrants with that of an evolving American workforce that is similarly struggling with job certainty, mobility, and security. More on the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice.

Themes: Worker rights, immigration policy and labor rights

Sally Merry | February 5-7

Silver Professor of Anthropology, New York University
Faculty Director, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU Law School

Merry is the author of The Seductions of Quantification: Measuring Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Sex Trafficking. Her research focuses on the impact of technologies of measurement and counting on human rights law and global governance. More on Merry’s faculty page.

Themes: Big Data, Trafficking, Gender, Governmentality, Colonialism

Sam Gregory | February 12-14

Program Director, WITNESS

At WITNESS, Gregory helps people use the power of the moving image and participatory technologies to create human rights change. He teaches on human rights and participatory media as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School. More about Gregory and WITNESS.

Themes: Participatory Technology, New and Social Media, Visualizing Quantification

Sumner B. Twiss | February 19-21

Distinguished Professor of Human Rights, Ethics and Religion, Florida State University

Twiss teaches in the Department of Religion and Center for Advancement of Human Rights. He is also Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Brown University. Twiss is a prolific author in the areas of comparative religious ethics, biomedical ethics, philosophy of religion, global ethics, intercultural human rights, and the comparative study of just war. More on Twiss here.

Themes: Crimes against humanity and international criminal justice; the law and ethics of torture; religion, politics, and genocide; the history and ethics of humanitarian intervention

Carlos Javier Ortiz | January 17-19 & February 28-March 2

Director, Cinematographer & Documentary Photographer

Carlos Javier Ortiz’s work focuses on urban life, gun violence, racism, poverty, and marginalized communities. In 2016, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for film/video. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in a variety of venues including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts; the International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Arts; and the Library of Congress. More on Carlos’s website

Themes: Arts, racism, gun violence

Event: Lunch with Carlos Javier Ortiz: Careers in Human Rights Lunch Series | Students only | Tuesday, February 27 | 12:30-1:30 | Sign up

Faculty Committee

Mark Bradley | Professor, History, Pozen Center Faculty Director
Claudia Flores | Assistant Professor, Law, International Human Rights Clinic
Adom Getachew | Assistant Professor, Political Science
Tom Ginsburg | Professor, Law
Yanilda Gonzalez | Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration
Susan Gzesh | Senior Lecturer in the College, Pozen Center Executive Director
Kimberly Kay Hoang | Assistant Professor, Sociology
Judy Hoffman | Professor, Cinema and Media Studies
Richard Miller | Professor, Divinity School
Peggy O’Donnell | Postdoctoral Instructor in Human Rights, Pozen Center
Jennifer Pitts | Associate Professor, Political Science
Johanna Ransmeier | Assistant Professor, History
Justin Richland | Associate Professor, Anthropology
Renslow Sherer | Professor, Biological Sciences Division

Header image by Carlos Javier Ortiz from the We All We Got project.