Hans Joas is a leading social theorist and professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, where he also belongs to the Committee on Social...
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Hans Joas Lecture: Punishment, Rights, and the Sacredness of the Person (Berkley Center Lectures) (Full Screen)
Hans Joas Lecture: Violence and the Origins of Human Rights (2009 Berkley Center Lectures) (Full Screen)
CENTER NEWSMay 21, 2013
Tom Farr Quoted on Religious Freedom and Extremism by FrontPage Magazine.
May 21, 2013
Tim Shah Featured in Deseret News Story on State Department Religious Freedom Report
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Hans Joas on Universal Human Rights, October 2009
What are the origins of the idea of universal human rights? How can those rights be best understood - and realized - into the future? Hans Joas of the University of Chicago addressed these key questions in this year's Berkley Center Lectures. Some scholars see human rights as an outgrowth of secular enlightenment thought, while others emphasize their religious foundations. Joas proposed an alternative genealogy. He examined the emergence of the idea of universal human dignity as a response to the experience of collective violence and as part of larger process of inclusion through which more and more people have come to be considered sacred human persons. In a globalizing world, Joas argues, communication across philosophical and religious traditions is both possible and necessary to conceive and realize universal human rights into the future.
October 26, 2009
Current debates about human rights obscure their origins in the experience of violence. The affirmation of the universal value of human dignity is not only part of the history of ideas, but it also links back to violent and traumatic collective experiences such as slavery and the Holocaust. In...
October 27, 2009
The history of human rights runs parallel to the rise of the modern state and new forms of punishment. In that history some discern progress in the gradual constraints placed on state power with respect to its citizens. Others follow Michel Foucault, who saw the modern state developing more and...
October 28, 2009
Can there be agreement about universal human rights? Given the diversity of religious and philosophical value traditions in today's world, is consensus possible? In his third Berkley Center lecture, Hans Joas argued that much depends on the way we talk about values with one another. We have to...