On November 7, Medicine and its Objects is delighted to present:

Peggy O’Donnell

Lecturer and Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, History

Accidental Activists: 

Human Rights as Care for the Dead

Discussant: David Ansari, Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences

Wednesday, November 7, 4:30-6pm


***Snacks and refreshments will be provided***

Finding and exhuming bodies has been a priority after atrocity in places as disparate as post-Junta Argentina, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Kurdistan, Rwanda, Bosnia, and recently, on the European continent in ongoing efforts to uncover Holocaust graves. The people who exhumed those graves, the Accidental Activists for whom this book manuscript is named, engaged in what we might recognize as human rights work: that is, they investigated alleged rights violations, established facts, and often built cases in order to seek justice according to international law. The book acknowledges such aims—aims to global justice, to peace, to the upholding of international treaties and laws. But it also reinterprets their work as discrete acts of care: care for the dead, for individual survivors, and for communities rent by violence. A global history of forensic work after atrocity told through the lived experience of practitioners, Accidental Activists: Human Rights as Care for the Dead argues for a more expansive definition of human rights, one that prioritizes care alongside justice.

To receive the book proposal, or if you have any questions or require assistance to attend, email Stephanie Palazzo, spalazzo@uchicago.edu.

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See you on Wednesday!