Andreas Huyssen: Natural Rights, Civil Rights and the Politics of Memory


Photo/Foto: Paula Kupfer

Natural Rights, Civil Rights and the Politics of Memory

Human rights and memory discourses must be robustly linked with each other to add a necessary dimension of futurity to memory and of history to human rights politics. Drawing on the early modern notion of natural rights, this paper asks to what extent ‘rights of nature’ need to be considered to nurture the sustainability of human rights as social rights.


Andreas Huyssen is the Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is founding director of Columbia’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (1998-2003) and one of the founding editors of New German Critique (since 1974), the leading journal of German studies in the U.S. His books include After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism (1986), Postmoderne—Zeichen eines kulturellen Wandels, co-edited with Klaus Scherpe (1986), Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia (1995), and Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory (2003). He is the editor, most recently, of Other Cities, Other Worlds: Urban Imaginaries in a Globalizing Age (2008). His work has been translated into many languages worldwide.

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