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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.64, No.3, 483 ~ 531, 2018
2017 JELL Forum on Literature and Human Rights: A Roundtable “Narrating Rights: Literary Texts and Human, Nonhuman, and Inhuman Demands”
Youngmin Kim
Unpacking and dispersing rights of various kinds formerly enjoyed by a selected few has been the constant motivation behind the democratization and modernization of human society. Human rights and later civil rights have continuously been constituted and reconstituted in response to the demands of the laboring class, slaves, women, subalterns, animals, and things, expanding beyond the boundaries of class, race, nation, sexuality, gender, species and organism. Calling attention to the ways in which literary and cultural texts have narrated rights so as to inscribe these human, nonhuman, and inhuman demands. Narrating rights offer opportunities to interrogate the lasting contributions of English language and literature to questioning, reforming, and practicing rights. The interrogation is particularly pertinent in this age in which revised and dispersed rights are creating new conflicts, requiring them to be narrated differently and imaginatively so as to allow all the parties in conflict to participate in working out the conflicts. With the 2017 theme of “Literature and Human Rights,” JELL editorial collective hope to explore the relationship between literature and human rights in its multiple simultaneous, and plural manifestations in an open platform. “Narrating Rights” is a double-edged task that, on one hand, reflects the singular life conditions or contexts of a human, inhuman or nonhuman being and, on the other hand, aspires to the perpetual process of rights’ universal application. Eleven out of all the keynote speakers at the 2017 ELLAK Convention were invited to this roundtable on Literature and Human Rights. The following transcription includes the dialogues of the eleven discussants.
Key Words
rights, narration, public humanities, in(non)human, literature
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