Human Rights and the Arts by Jonathan Neufeld, CofC, Philosophy

Paper linked here

The Aesthetics Work Group will have its first meeting this coming Thursday, September 10 at 4PM in 14 Glebe. I (Jonathan Neufeld, Philosophy, CofC) will present on “Works of Art and Public Reason.” I have attached a document, “Human Rights and the Arts,” that argues that the arts play a crucial role in the expansion of human rights and, practically, that human rights organizations should strengthen their ties to the arts. The paper is short and was written for an educated lay audience so it heavy on example and light on justification. On Thursday, I would like to explore the philosophical underpinnings of this argument more closely. What arts fit well with the political goals outlined in the paper? What is the conception of political deliberation at play that makes art’s role in the pursuit of human rights plausible and legitimate? In addition to the paper, take a look at Creative Time’s recent projects if you have time. I will point to some of their work as I explore art’s role in public reason and human rights. 

As a reminder, here’s how AWG meetings go: I will give a quick introduction and overview of the problem, zeroing in on questions I take to be at stake in the reading, and in the project as a whole. This will last about 10 minutes. Then we dive into discussion until we feel that we are finished or until 5:45ish, whichever comes first.