From the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Apartheid to the revolutions in the Arab World, citizens speaking in the language of human rights and challenging the brutal régimes that oppressed them have sparked immense change. More recently, larger issues of humanitarian intervention, the environment and climate change have put additional stress on human rights around the globe. But the discussion around human rights should not be restricted to issues of law or politics. Humanists and social scientists have a place at the table. Any conversation about human rights must include a vision for the way people should and could live. As humanists, we bring to the study of human rights an examination of deeper questions about suffering, justice, and power that transcend established disciplines.

We are a multi-campus research group that brings together research on human rights from across the University of California system. In particular, this interdisciplinary network serves as a foundation to explore the intersection of institutional and ideological phenomenon of humanitarianism and the concept of humanity.