On Thursday 3rd December, from 6-8pm, Refugee Hosts’ Co I, Prof. Lyndsey Stonebridge will join a distinguished panel of writers, academics and cultural commentators online to celebrate the publication of her new collection of essays, Writing and Righting (Oxford University Press).

The book features poetry by Refugee Hosts’ Writer in Residence Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, with the final chapter discussing Hannah Arendt in relation to Qasmiyeh’s writing on Baddawi camp, North Lebanon, where Refugee Hosts has been conducting research since 2016.

About the Event

Perhaps at no point since their modern inception in the middle of the twentieth-century have human rights seemed as weak as they do now.

The universal ambitions of human rights have been declared an enemy of the people by right-wing nationalists, and called to account for their failure to challenge structures of world power and inequality by the left. Yet as contempt for human life and dignity grows more explicit by the day, we have never needed human rights —  or something like them — more. 

Cultures that devalue human expression and curiosity are never going to be good for human rights. How can we think again about the relationship between the arts and justice? What has literature historically contributed to the development of human rights? Are books always good for human rights in the ways we have imagined previously? Or have we become lazy in our assumptions about the obvious humanity of books? What new challenges to imagining justice might writers bring to our politics, courts, and institutions?  

Join Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Humanities and Human Rights at the University of Birmingham, Sunny Singh, Professor of Creative Writing and Inclusion in the Arts at the London Metropolitan University, Lisa Appignanesi OBE, visiting Professor at King’s College London, Chair of the Royal Society of Literature, and Thomas Keenan, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Human Rights Program at Bard College.

Attendance is free but you do need to register to enable you to participate. Please register here.

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Cover image: book cover for Writing and Righting, featuring photo by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Baddawi Camp, April 2018.

The photo prompted the poetic reflection “Her Hands are Hers” by Yousif M. Qasmiyeh which you can read here.

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