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Human Rights Between Universalism and Particularism

17. Mai 2024

Organiser: Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (KFG) "Universalism and Particularism in European Contemporary History" and Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin

Place: Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Munich, Leonrodstr. 46b (Germany)
Time: 6 - 7 June 2024


The KFG investigates universalist and particularist models of order in European contemporary history from the 1970s to the present. Universalist claims aim to validate universally applicable rules. However, demands for such rules usually grow out of concrete interests. In contrast, particularist models reject any general claim and justify guiding principles that are oriented towards the construction of individual or group-related needs.

In the upcoming conference the KFG will focus on "Human Rights Between Universalism and Particularism": The postulate of human rights became attractive as a concept throughout the world in the 1970s and was a major driver of political protest in the pre-1989 dissident movement. With the democratization of post-communist societies, the issue of human rights seemed to become less important. On the other hand, recourse to human rights formed a decisive element in the universalistic draft of the world order of liberal internationalism that triumphed in 1989–91. At the same time, this policy increasingly met with opposition. Since the 2010s, the EU has been confronted with the serious problem of maintaining a uniform standard of civil rights in Poland and Hungary. The modern authoritarian and populist regimes of East (Central) European countries question the universality of human rights by trying to unmask them as a particular ideology that is directed against traditional family or cultural values.


Thursday, 6 June 2024

Welcome and Introduction: Andreas Wirsching (Munich), Angelika Nußberger (Cologne)

Panel 1
Are Human Rights Universal?
Chair: Andreas Wirsching (Munich)

Angelika Nußberger (Cologne):
Tendencies of De-Universalizing Human Rights

Laurence Burgorgue-Larsen (Paris):
Universalism in Question

Panel 2
Human Rights and Gender Equality
Chair: Kiran Klaus Patel (Munich)

Claudia Kraft (Vienna):
The Question of Universalism on the First UN World Conference on Women in Mexico City (1975)

Celia Donert (Cambridge):
Taking the State Out of Socialism: Women's Rights in Central and Eastern Europe Before and After 1989

Keynote Lecture

Frank Bösch (Potsdam):
Die Deutschen und die Diktaturen. Außenpolitik und Menschenrechte seit der Ära Adenauer
(Keynote in German, open to the public)

Friday, 7 June 2024

Panel 3
The Human Rights Discourse in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1970s and 1980s
Chair: Martin Schulze Wessel (Munich)

Michal Kopeček (Prague):
Political Languages of Human Rights in East Central European Dissent.

Caroline von Gall (Frankfurt):
Soviet Theory of Human Rights in the 1970s

Ivan Kislenko (Belgorod):
'Not decolonization but self-isolation' - How the Kremlin's Purported Fight Against 'Neocolonialism' is Destroying Russian Science

Panel 4
Human Rights in International Politics and Commemoration
Chair: Hélène Miard-Delacroix (Paris)

Agnes Bresselau von Bressensdorf (Munich):
Between Universalism and Regionalization: Human Rights, Middle Eastern Refugees and Western Europe in the 1980s

Ida Richter (Berlin):
Universalistic Rhetoric in the Commemoration of Rescue during the Holocaust: Establishing Raoul Wallenberg as a Human Rights Symbol in the 1980s

Concluding Remarks
Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Berkeley)


KFG Coordination Office
Amadeus Neumann, M.A., and Dr. Isabella Schüler-Pfeuffer
Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (KFG) "Universalism and Particularism in European Contemporary History"
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Historisches Seminar
Edmund-Rumpler-Str. 9, 80939 München
Tel.: 0049 89 2180-1851
Email: kfg20@lrz.uni-muenchen.de

Source: Human Rights Between Universalism and Particularism., In: H-Soz-Kult, 16.05.2024, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/event-144187>.