AUC International Graduate Student Conference

Call for Papers:

Literature and Human Rights

The Department of English and Comparative Literature (ECLT) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) will host an International Graduate Student Conference on Human Rights and Literature. The conference will be held virtually (via Zoom) at the American University in Cairo, on February 21, 2021.

Literature has long been engaged in these struggles for and debates about human rights. Literary texts have challenged (but also reinforced) dominant notions of who counts (and who does not count) as human. And literary texts have given voice to (but also omitted) marginalized perspectives, and thus expanded (or limited) our collective imaginary of who is deserving of certain rights. This conference will examine the tensions, silences, and potentials within literary texts that engage human rights dis- course.

Possible topics may include:

  • Human rights and World Literature.
  • Eurocentrism and human rights / decolonizing human rights.
  • Non-western, Islamic, or subaltern approaches to human rights.
  • Migration (crises) and human rights.
  • Poverty, rising inequality, and human rights.
  • Literature on slavery—then and now. Literature on imprisonment.
  • Grassroots movements for human rights (e.g. Movement for Black Lives).
  • Human rights in the age of catastrophic climate change. Planetary Rights.
  • Technology and human rights.
  • Humanism and posthumanism. Speciesism and human rights.


Presentations should be between 10 and 15 minutes long. Please send a 250-word abstract and a short bio (50 words) to Dr. Balthazar Beckett ( by December 16, 2020. You will be notified of acceptance by December 31, 2020.