Life Writing and Human Rights: Genres of Testimony
Venue: Kingston University, London
|Event Date/Time: Jul 11, 2011||End Date/Time: Jul 13, 2011|
|Abstract Submission Date: Feb 15, 2011|
personal, familial or of widespread political and public importance. Whether public or private, the telling of and the
listening to life narratives is a concern of increasing importance across a range of disciplines, professions and practices.
Since the end of the First World War, politics has been increasingly expressed as and measured against norms
categorised as human rights. The individual in relation to the state and states in their interactions with one another are,
in theory and sometimes also in practice, governed by the legal architecture of human rights frameworks at national,
regional and global levels. These same processes may come into play in cases of domestic or private human rights
abuses, where the victim must make public their suffering in order for it to be recognised, and for justice to be done.
The bulk of human rights defence and advocacy is based on making acts open to legal process. For this to happen we
need victims to testify. We need witnesses to write their autobiographies and memoirs and we need the media to
investigate and report on atrocities. We need perpetrators to confess. We need the life stories of all those involved.