9: ‘I Sing the Body Eclectic’ – Visions of Intersectional Futures for Universalism in Human Rights Theory and Practice

If feminism is not intersectional, is it even feminism? In the same manner, if human rights are not fundamentally intersectional, can we even call them human rights? The main body of philosophers, and ‘body’ is the appropriate term here, has been the male body, the white body, the class privileged body – so how has this translated into universalism? It is not only an anatomical reflection of its creators: classist, racist and sexist. But it also reflected other dimensions of oppression, such as ableism, heteronormativity, homophobia, transphobia, etc. Thus it is unsurprising that intersectional justice is not a central theme in human rights theory. In this panel we will dissect the way in which the formerly exclusive nature of universalism and dubious definition of ‘the human’ are so engraved in our epistemological traditions, that they still impact human rights theory and practice today – also when it comes to racial and intersectional justice. Because human rights are themselves multidisciplinary, a synthesis of philosophical, legal and political disciplines, the panel will aim to address this issue from multiple perspectives. Contributions to the panel could address but are not limited to the following questions: What is the role of education in the current structuring of inequality? How have ‘race’ and gender been constituted historically and how do they influence human rights regimes today (case examples)? In which ways can Intersectionality as a legal concept be appropriated as an empowering tool for multiple oppressed people? Abstracts (max. 300 words) should be emailed to the panel chair.

Panel chair

Miriam Yosef, intersectionaluniversalism@gmail.com