Five leading thinkers on the concept of ‘rights’ in an era of rightlessness
Sixty years ago, the political theorist Hannah Arendt, an exiled Jew deprived of her German citizenship, observed that before people can enjoy any of the “inalienable” Rights of Man—before there can be any specific rights to education, work, voting, and so on—there must first be such a thing as “the right to have rights.” The concept received little attention at the time, but in our age of mass deportations, Muslim bans, refugee crises, and extra-state war, the phrase has become the center of a crucial and lively debate. Here five leading thinkers from varied disciplines—including history, law, politics, and literary studies—discuss the critical basis of rights and the meaning of radical democratic politics today.
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About the Author
Stephanie DeGooyer is Assistant Professor of English at Willamette University and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Harvard University.
Alastair Hunt is Associate Professor of English at Portland State University.
Lida Maxwell is Associate Professor of Politics at Boston University.
Samuel Moyn is Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of History at Yale University.
Astra Taylor is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and activist.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Right to Have Rights 1
1 The Right… 21
2 … to Have … 45
3 … Rights … 59
4 … of Whom? 75