Book Talk: Gender, Alterity and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl

January 14, 2020 • 12:30 PM • Law School 3037

Ratna Kapur will discuss her new book, "Gender, Alterity, and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl"; tracking the possibility of freedom in the aftermath of the critique of human rights. Kapur interrogates human rights as a project of freedom through a critical evaluation and analysis of scholarship and advocacy on LGBT rights, campaigns against violence against women, and gender equality interventions. Kapur illustrates how human rights emerge as a governance and regulatory endeavor, and how more rights for women, sexual and religious minorities have not necessarily produced more freedom for these constituencies. She provocatively argues in favor of exploring non-liberal approaches to freedom and the futurity of human rights within such a pursuit. Sponsored by Duke Law's International Human Rights Clinic and the Center for International and Comparative Law. Co-sponsored by Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Human Rights Law Society, and International Law Society. The event is free and open to all; lunch provided. For information, please contact Balfour Smith at

Ratna Kapur

Ratna Kapur is a Professor of International Law, Queen Mary University of London. She is also a Distinguished (Sessional) Professor of Human Rights and Global Studies, Symbiosis School of Law (India) and a Senior Core Faculty with the Institute of Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School.

Professor Kapur has taught and published extensively on issues of human rights, with a particular focus on gender, and the rights of sexual and religious minorities. She brings a critical theoretical approach to her scholarship and research endeavors that draw on the tradition of Third World Approaches to Human Rights (TWAIL), feminist legal theory and postcolonial theory.

Her books include Makeshift Migrants and Law: Gender, Belonging and Postcolonial Anxieties (2010); Erotic Justice: Law and the New Politics of Postcolonialism (2005); Secularism’s Last Sigh? (co-authored, 2001); and Subversive Sites: Feminist Engagements with Law in India (co-authored, 1996).