James Dawes is Chair and Professor of English at Macalester College, and founder and Director of the Program in Human Rights and Humanitarianism. He is author of Evil Men (Harvard University Press, 2013), That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity (Harvard University Press, 2007), and The Language of War (Harvard University Press, 2002).
Dr. Dawes spoke at Duke in the Borderwork(s) Lab on February 28, 2013 on the subject of “Story-telling and Human Rights: Teaching at a Liberal Arts College.” His talk was sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI and supported by RightsConnect, a Humanities Writ Large Emerging Networks Initiative.
Betsy Santoyo (’14) interviewed James Dawes about his work with the program in Human Rights and Humanitarianism that was included in a DukeToday article. Here is an excerpt from the interview.
BS. What inspired you to start a human rights program on your campus and what were the first steps?
JD: I created the program because students wanted it. The first step, at a college like mine, is building grassroots support. In fact, that’s the first, middle, and last step. At a small liberal arts college, there is no such thing as individualized, go-it-alone, trailblazing leadership — it’s all about building consensus.
BS: What kind of impact would you like this program to have?
JD: For the impact that I want it to have, it really isn’t about changing the world or anything grand like that — it’s about creating opportunities for my students. I have an imaginary event I play over in my mind: when my students graduate and, let’s say, go interview with my friends at HRW, or the ICRC, or similar organizations, what will it look like? READ MORE.
Full video of James Dawes’ talk