Kathryn-LibalKathryn Libal is Associate Professor of Social Work and Associate Director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. She earned her doctorate in anthropology at the University of Washington. She specializes in human rights, social welfare and the state and has published on women’s and children’s rights movements in Turkey and on international non-governmental organizations’ advocacy on behalf of Iraqi refugees. Her current scholarship focuses on the localization of human rights norms and practices in the United States, including a co-edited volume with Dr. Shareen Hertel on Human Rights in the United States: Beyond Exceptionalism (Cambridge, 2011) and a new project on the U.S. politics of food security and food assistance policy as a human rights concern. She has also co-authored, with Scott Harding, a short text on Human Rights Based Approaches to Community Practice in the United States(Springer, forthcoming) and is co-editor, with S. Megan Berthold, Rebecca Thomas, and Lynne Healy, of the forthcoming volume Advancing Human Rights in Social Work Education (Council on Social Work Education Press).

Kathryn Libal gave a talk on “Bringing Economic and Social Rights ‘Home’: A View from an Interdisciplinary Human Rights Classroom” on Monday, September 22 at 4pm in the FHI Garage, Smith Warehouse, Bay 4. Her talk was sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI, the Pauli Murray Project and Humanities Writ Large. 

Sarah Kerman (’18) conducted an interview over email with Kathryn Libal about the importance of human rights education. Here is an excerpt from the interview.  

Sarah Kerman (SK): Why do you believe it’s important for students to study human rights at the university level?

Kathryn Libal (KL): In the United States human rights education is not “mainstreamed” in public education like it is in many other countries. Often undergraduate students’ understandings are shaped by media coverage of human rights “violations” abroad, with a focus on civil and political rights issues. This violations-approach that emphasizes the denial of rights to political participation, equality before the law, freedom of religion, or freedom of speech in other countries contributes to an impression that people within the United States have already fully realized their human rights. READ MORE.


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