Research Agendas for Human Rights Research

Research Agendas for Human Rights Workshop

Michael Stohl and Alison Brysk have been commissioned by Edward Elgar to produce a volume for the Elgar Research Agenda series with the title Research Agendas for Human Rights. Participants in the workshop have been chosen from submissions gathered from the Global Human Rights Scholarly Community through an open call to the International Studies Association and American Political Science Associations Human Rights Sections. Each presentation and subsequent revised book chapter will explore the future of research in an area of human rights research of the author’s choosing (e.g. Human Rights Research and Internally Displaced Persons). The chapters map out unanswered or ignored research questions, research controversies needed new areas of research and map out the potential directions and paths of travel to addressing the needed research.


Friday, January 18 – Orfalea Center Conference Room (Girvetz 2320)

9:00-9:30              Welcome and Introduction – Michael Stohl (UCSB)

9:30-10:15           History – Eetu Vento (University of Tampere)
Corpus Linguistic Approach to the Study of Human Rights History – ´Human Rights´ in the 19th Century British Press

10:15-11:00         Law – Felipe Gomez Isa (University of Deusto)
Rights of Nature: New Frontiers for Human Rights

— 15 minute break —

11:15-12:00         People out of Place – Champa Patel (The Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs)
Human Rights Research and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

12:00-12:45         Humanitarianism – David Forsythe (University of Nebraska)
Humanitarianism:  Coping in the Void

12:45-1:30           Lunch (Catered by Three Pickles)

1:30-2:15              Public, Private, Business – Janne Mende (University of Giessen)
The Public, the Private, and the Business-Societal: A Threefold Approach to Business Responsibility for Human Rights

2:15-3:00              Local Regional – Gerd Oberleitner (University of Graz)
Towards a research agenda for human rights at the local and regional level

— break until dinner —

Saturday, January 19 – The Club (Lagoon Board Room)

9:00-9:45              Socio-Economic – Inga Winkler (Columbia University)
Research Agenda for Socio-Economic Rights

9:45-10:30           Women’s – Feryal Cherif (Loyola Marymount University)
Women’s Rights

— 15 minute break —

10:45-11:30         Environment – Jeff Feng (UCSB)
Global Violence Against Environmental Justice Activists

11:30-12:15         Democracy – Jonathan Crock (William & Mary)

12:15-1:00           Lunch (Catered by The Club)

1:00-1:45              Academic Freedom – George Andreopoulos (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY)
Academic Freedom as a Human Right

1:45-2:00              Conclusion – Michael Stohl and Alison Brysk (UCSB)

–break until dinner –


Eetu Vento is a PhD student in sociology in the University of Tampere. His doctoral research is centered around global historical changes in political culture and political language. Analyzing large text corpora, applying both qualitative and quantitative research methods, he aims to unearth the political processes through which some political ideas and concepts come to be institutionalized globally, while others fail to do so. At the moment he is working on attaining a better understanding of the global institutionalization of human rights language.

Felipe Gómez Isa is Professor of Public International Law and researcher at the Pedro
Arrupe Institute of Human Rights of the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain). He is Vice-Dean for International Relations at Deusto Law School. He has published extensively on issues related to international human rights law, transitional justice,
women’s rights or indigenous peoples’ rights. He is National Director of the European Master in Human Rights and Democratization (EIUC, Venice, Italy), and has worked as a consultant on the Colombian peace process.

Feryal Cherif is an associate professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University. She received her PhD from New York University in 2005. Her research broadly focuses on women’s rights, human rights, and the politics of the Middle East. Her recent book, Myths about Women’s Rights: How, Where, and Why Rights Advance (OUP, 2015), examines conventional wisdoms about why women’s rights advance in some countries but continue to lag in others. Her work has appeared in Comparative Politics, The Journal of Politics and International Studies Quarterly as well as other outlets.

Jeff Feng is a PhD student in Political Science at UC Santa Barbara from Radford, Virginia energized by environmental justice organizing and research. Their research interests include how movements fight back against extractive industries and their entrenched power, how discursive connections between movement framings foster mobilization and organizing, and how to grow the eco-queer movement.

George Andreopoulos is Professor of Political Science and Criminal Justice, City University of New York and the founding Director of the Center for International Human Rights at John Jay College. He has written extensively on international organizations, international human rights, and international humanitarian law issues. Over the years, he has participated in several human rights missions and has been a consultant for international organizations and NGOs. He is President of the Interdisciplinary Studies Section (IDSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA) and past President of the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA). He is the recipient of many grants and fellowships, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Alexander Onassis Foundation and the German Research Foundation. He is currently completing a book on the United Nations Security Council and Counter-Terrorism.

Jonathan Crock is adjunct professor of public law at George Mason University and PhD candidate in international law at Leiden University. He researches the human right to democratic decision-making, including direct political democracy, workplace democracy, environmental democracy, democratic control of money as a public good, and democratic global governance. He has a master’s in international human rights law (Oxford), LL.B. law degree (London), and B.Sc. in politics and international relations (London). He previously worked at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of War Crimes Issues, U.S. Institute of Peace, UNHCR, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and U.S. Supreme Court.

Michael Stohl is Professor of Communication, Political Science and Global Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, where he Directs the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. Dr. Stohl’s research focuses on organizational and political communication with special reference to terrorism, human rights and global relations. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 16 books and more than 100 scholarly journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Stohl has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the International Communication Association Applied/Public Policy Research Award for career work on State Terrorism and Human Rights in 2011 and the International Communication Association 2008 Outstanding Article Award for Stohl, C. and Stohl, M. 2007, “Networks of Terror: Theoretical Assumptions and Pragmatic Consequences” Communication Theory 47,2: 93-124

Dr. Champa Patel became Head of the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House in September 2017. Before joining Chatham House she was most recently the Regional Director/Senior Research Advisor for South Asia and South East Asia and Pacific Offices for Amnesty International, responsible for managing the research, campaigns, media and advocacy for the region. Prior to Amnesty she worked in public health for almost a decade, focused on children at-risk, refugees, asylum seekers and internal trafficking. She is a Visiting Practitioner/External Examiner at the University of York, a faculty member of the Salzburg Global Seminar and on the Editorial Board of Human Rights Quarterly.

David P. Forsythe is Emeritus University Professor and Charles J. Mach Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His primary professional interests are human rights and humanitarian affairs. He wrote the first social science textbook on human rights in the United States in 1983. A follow on text is now in its 4th edition. He wrote the first book by an outsider on the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1977, followed by two others on that topic. He was the founding Director of what is now the Forsythe Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at UNL.

Gerd Oberleitner is Professor of International Law and UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human
Security at the Faculty of Law, University of Graz (Austria), Head of the Institute of International Law
and International Relations and Director of the European Training and Research Centre for Human
Rights and Democracy at the University of Graz.

PD Dr. Janne Mende is a senior researcher at the University of Giessen, where she conducts her funded research project about “Business Actors beyond Public and Private: Authority, Legitimacy and Responsibility in the United Nations Human Rights Regime”. Prior to that, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Development and Decent Work at the University of Kassel. She has held visiting positions at the WZB – Berlin Social Science Center, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the Research Centre Human Rights (University of Vienna), the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (University of Nottingham), and the New School for Social Research (New York). Her research interests include human rights, global governance, and international institutions.

Dr. Inga Winkler is a lecturer at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. Her research agenda is held together by her interest in socio-economic rights, sustainable development, gender, and substantive equality. Current research projects focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and human rights, the UN Special Procedures, menstrual health and wellbeing, and the human right to sanitation.

Inga is the Project Director of the Working Group on Menstrual Health & Gender Justice and a member of the Executive Committee of the Center for the Study of Social Difference. She leads the programming on socio-economic rights in the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. She is affiliated faculty at the Columbia Water Center in the Earth Institute, the Economic and Social Rights Working Group at the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, and the Center on Law and Social Transformation at the University of Bergen, Norway.

From 2009 to 2014 she was the Legal Adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, who was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. Inga has consulted for various international organizations and NGOs. She holds a German law degree and a doctorate in public international law (summa cum laude).

ALISON BRYSK is the Mellichamp Professor of Global Governance in the Global and International Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has authored or edited 10 books on international human rights. Professor Brysk has been a scholar and lecturer in Argentina, Australia, Ecuador, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Japan, and has held Fulbright Fellowships in India and Canada. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on human rights, international relations, civil society, and Latin American politics. In 2013-2014, Brysk will be a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Page Editor

Graduate Student Researcher at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies
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