Human Rights in an Age of Inequality

OCT 07, 2019 | 9:15 AM TO 7:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


1201: Elebash Recital Hall


October 07, 2019: 9:15 AM-7:30 PM




Ralph Bunche Institute


Please RSVP at

9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m. - Opening Keynote
Samuel Moyn
Respondent: Eric Weitz

Samuel Moyn’s recent work argues that the human rights framework, while useful in some respects, is ‘not enough” in an unequal world. He argues, instead, for a recommitment to welfare states.

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Citizenship, Migration, Stateless Persons, and Refugees
Carol Gould (moderator), Fred Cooper, Marc Edelman, Domna Stanton
Who has rights and who does not? What is the source of rights: states, human consensus, or something else entirely? What happens to people on the move or who no longer have a home? Are human rights more needed now than ever?

2:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m. - Social Media, Big Tech, Democracy, and Human Rights
Jessie Daniels (moderator), Janet Haven, Cathy O’Neil, Mutale Nkonde
Social media once promised to expand democratic spaces and usher in a more enlightened era. But online spaces have proven dangerous, conducive to threats and violence of all kinds, even as they have also facilitated mobilization to address moral outrages of various kinds. Some argue that they have expanded democratic voice at the cost of democracy itself.

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. - Human Rights, the Law, and Public Policy
Anil Kalhan (moderator), Teng Biao, Jessica Neuwirth, Ken Roth
How have human rights been encoded and enacted? Are legal mechanisms necessary or are moral declarations sufficient to effect positive behavioral changes? Are certain kinds of states more conducive to human rights? That is, is democracy necessary for human rights to exist? Can human rights and authoritarianism go hand in hand?

6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. -  Evening Keynote: Human Rights and Inequality
John Torpey (Moderator), Abhijit Banerjee, Yasheng Huang, Paul Krugman, Kathryn Sikkink
We are living in a time of economic inequality and of unequal access to quality education, to quality healthcare, to clean water, to capital, to basic resources. How do human rights address people’s needs in this kind of environment? Do they help or hinder a quest for freedom, justice, and equality?