Shadows of Universalism: The Untold Story of Human Rights

How did self-determination get written into human rights? And by whom? In her lecture, Lydia Liu reopens the story of how the postwar norms of human rights were radically transformed by an unexpected clash with the classical standard of civilization in international law. She analyzes the drafting of the document of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the UN debates surrounding it to explore the translingual forging of universalism in the multiple temporalities of global history.

Lydia H. Liu is Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. She directs the Center for Translingual and Transcultural Studies at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Liu was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1997 and a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2004-05.

Her books include The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious (2010), The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making (2004), and Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity (1995). Recently, she published a coedited volume called The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory (2013).

Wednesday, 19 March 2014, 6.30 pm
CSDS Seminar Hall