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Cultural Rights: The New Human Rights Frontier

Professor Helle Porsdam (University of Copenhagen) speaks at the Digital Humanities Network Seminar
When May 07, 2015
from 11:30 AM to 01:00 PM
Where SG1, Alison Richard Building
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This event has been rescheduled from 29 January and online registration is now open - please see below

Cultural rights are the new frontier – and the new research field – of human rights. Identity-related questions, inherently linked to human dignity and self-respect, are frequently at the root of violence and peace issues, and ‘culture’ is now seen as a basic component of political and economic development.

The right to culture in human rights law is about the celebration and protection of humankind’s creativity and traditions. At the universal level, cultural rights are recognized in the rights to education, to participate in cultural life and to benefit from scientific progress. The cultural dimensions of more ‘classic’ freedoms have also been acknowledged, just as a variety of cultural issues come into play in relation to the internet.

Yet we still have no commonly accepted definition and only limited knowledge about how to source cultural rights, how universality might be achieved, how these rights may help the inclusivity and the indivisibility of human rights – and how we prevent culture from becoming an excuse for the denial of fundamental human rights.

Are cultural rights individual or collective? How do we reconcile claims of access to knowledge and culture with the fights of indigenous groups for culture as empowerment? How do we make sure that people benefit from scientific advances in e.g. information technology, and that culture becomes an enabler and driver for development? And can human dignity form the basis for equal human rights?

Speaker: Professor Helle Porsdam (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

Speaker's biography:

Helle Porsdam is Professor of American Studies at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She holds a PhD in American Studies from Yale University, has been a Liberal Arts Fellow twice at the Harvard Law School, an Arcadia Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge (2011) and is currently a Global Ethics Fellow with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York. Among her publications may be mentioned Legally Speaking: Contemporary American Culture and the Law (1999) and From Civil to Human Rights: Dialogues on Law and Humanities in the United States and Europe (2009).

Most recently (2010-13), she has been the project leader of CULTIVATE, a HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area, ESF) project on copyright, creativity and cultural heritage institutions. She has just received funding from the Danish Velux Foundation for the project, “The Past’s Future: Digital Transformations and Cultural Heritage Institutions” (2015-19).

The event is free to attend but registration is required. To book your place please click here: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/25877