‘The fundamental deprivation of human rights is manifested first and above all in the deprivation of a place in the world which makes opinions significant and actions effective.'
Bringing together writers, historians, literary scholars, lawyers and journalists, the Centre provides an international focus for the academic study of writing and rights. From the testimonies of refugees and torture victims, to books banned for political sedition, obscenity or religious offence, from copyright and libel, to the right to free speech; at the heart of the connection between writing and rights is the question of what it means to be human today. We believe that a sure grasp of the history of that connection is essential to any understanding of the issues that confront writers today, and in turn that the experiences of those writers should inform academic thinking, advocacy and policy making about this subject. The Writing and Rights Centre provides a unique context in which these debates can take place.
The Centre is keen to play a vital role as the bridge between researchers, writers and human rights practitioners, funding councils and the third sector, leading both to a richer academic understanding of this field and to practical innovations.
Current and forthcoming activities
This October we are co-hosting the AHRC funded Skills programme, Humanities in Human Rights. A workshop bringing together creative writers, scholars and legal activists is planned for the late spring of 2014. And a series of research seminars featuring prominent invited speakers and early-career researchers will be hosted at UEA in the 2014-15 academic year.
Members are currently editing a special issue Critical Quarterly (spring 2014) on writing and rights (including essays by Joseph Slaughter, Pete de Bolla, Zoe Norridge, Alan Hepburn, Jonathan Heawood and Elisabeth Anker as well as poetry by Yousif Qasmiyeh). An anthology bringing together key texts in the history of writing and rights is also under preparation.
Members and selected publications
The Centre builds on the research expertise of its members: Professors Lyndsey Stonebridge (The Judicial Imagination: Writing After Nuremberg (EUP, 2011) and Rachel Potter (Obscene Modernism: Literary Censorship and Experiment 1900-1940 (OUP, 2013), Dr Matthew Taunton, Professor Alastair Mullis (Carter-Ruck on Libel and Privacy (2010), and Visiting Research Fellow, Jonathan Heawood.