Cross-cutting approaches to human rights

Occidental College, University of Southern California, & Arizona State University

In 2019, Occidental College’s Young Initiative partnered with the division of Social Sciences at Arizona State University and USC’s Institute on Inequalities in Global Health to hold a workshop on interdisciplinarity, intersectionality, and indivisibility in global human rights work. 

As described in this video, the workshop featured scholars and practitioners representing all regions of the world and multiple disciplines and perspectives. This resulted in intense discussions on key themes essential to envisioning how human rights must evolve given the linked crises in global governance and the rise of global xenophobia.  


The following interviews and articles are published as part of a partnership between the organizers of this workshop and OpenGlobalRights. They center around three key themes that Workshop participants identified as central: sexuality, sexual rights, and reproductive rights; feminism and the “triple bind”; and cosmopolitanism and sub-state actors.


Sexuality, Sexual Rights, and Reproductive Rights

Curator: Sofia Gruskin, Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, USC

How can human rights—including, but not limited to international human rights law—serve as a meaningful counterweight to the regressive trends around sexuality, sexual rights, and reproductive rights that are sweeping the globe?


Feminism and the “Triple Bind”

Curator: Pardis Mahdavi, ASU

How has feminism become a lightning rod issue in human rights discourses? How have women’s rights and human rights been pitted against each other? What are the attacks on both feminism and human rights from the right, the left, and from within? And how do we face these multiple fronts?


Cosmopolitanism and Sub-state Actors

Curators: Anthony Tirado Chase and Gaea Morales, Occidental College

At a time when states are increasingly hostile to the international rights regime, human rights activists have forged alliances with non-state and sub-state actors as a point of entry for the implementation of human rights law. These recent developments complicate conventional analysis of relationships between local actors, global norms, and cosmopolitanism. Does the increasing impact of sub-state actors in transnational and global politics complicate how we think of “cosmopolitanism?” More specifically, do how such actors (at times) connect international law/norms to local issues/activism/communities impact an understanding of how human rights might serve as a meaningful counterweight to global xenophobia?



Pandemic patriarchy: regulation, access, and governance in reproductive rights

By: Alison Brysk & Miguel Fuentes Carreno

Structural inequalities in women’s rights are exacerbated by the pandemic and leave poor and racialized women most vulnerable to the denial of reproductive rights.

Cosmopolitan human rights and local transformations: in tension or in tandem?

By: LaDawn Haglund

The essentializing of “urban inhabitants” as somehow sharing a destiny ignores inequalities among inhabitants that may require more fundamental restructuring to ...

Cosmopolitanism and lived realities: beyond global-local binaries

By: Anthony Tirado Chase & Gaea Morales

False binaries of communities as local versus cosmopolitan are misleading and make as little sense as limiting activists’ choices to using either local or global ...

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