999 - Human Rights and Literature

18.07.2012 | 17:30 - 19:30
19.07.2012 | 17:30 - 19:30

Convener 1: Tezanos-Pinto, Rosa (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis , Indiana, United States)
Convener 2: Lichem, Maria Teresa (Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft, Wien, Austria / Österreich)

Since the end of the Cold War the issue of human rights has been the most important justification for international conflict resolution and development strategies in Latin America.  Given the fact that the vast majority of Latin American states signed and approved the international and regional human rights conventions – and thus committed themselves to this legal framework – which required the political will of the international and regional community to project accountability for the gross human rights violations perpetrated primarily by state and to a lesser extent by non-state actors. In many instances the relationship between literature and human rights in Latin America is linked to the growing societal significance of human rights as a defining element of culture, values, and behavioral and relational patterns. Human rights in the region are therefore to be seen as a key element in the definition, affirmation and defense of human dignity, security and freedom depending not only upon governmental concessions but increasingly defined by the human being, the citizen. Authors with a human rights perspective in their writing have dealt with these societal challenges and made important contributions to the processes of democratization and related freedoms accompanied by an abolition of command and obedience structures in governance such as in dictatorships and in society (patriarchy, gender discrimination, among others). Human rights claims in the dissident literature of Latin America as well as in politics, had often been made on behalf of leftist ideologies or indigenous ‘traditions’ which, however, were often based – in different ways, modern and pre-modern – on principles alien or in contradiction with the principles of human rights. Latin American Literature provides not only perceptions of victimizations, but in the course of the past 150 years has increasingly contributed to the building of human rights related cultures and capabilities in a society. It might even be said it is unfeasible to come to terms with human rights without also deliberating on the imaginary accounts presented by Latin American writers.

Keywords: Human Rights, Southern Cone, Carribbean, Multiple cultural perspectives, Literature

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