“How Egypt forgot its sectarian past in 1919” – Lecture by Hussein Omar (Oxford)
WHEN: 7 Novemver, 17.00-19.00
WHERE: Amsterdam, P. C. Hoofthuis, 1.05
“Malcolm X and the concept of human rights” – Lecture by Emma Stone Mackinnon (Cambridge)
when: 28 November, 16.00-17.30
where: Amsterdam, Bushuis E 1.02
In the year and a half before he was killed, Malcolm X frequently denounced the US for violations of human rights, including seeking to bring a complaint about the treatment of black Americans before the UN. On the usual telling, the language of human rights appealed to him because, unlike that of civil rights, it provided ground for international appeal. Among historians, his use of human rights is often seen as part of a Cold War story in which international demands for rights were increasingly domesticated, in favour of advocacy for civil rights alone – a shift that allowed for certain strategic gains but also represented the loss of a broader imaginary. But by returning to the use of human rights in Malcolm X’s thought, and connecting it to his earlier critiques of American hypocrisy, this talk will propose we can find a version of human rights politics far more robust than the current literature suggests. In recovering a radical and egalitarian human rights politics of the late 1950s and early 1960s, we see how Malcolm X used the concept of human rights to address and draw connections between economic inequality, anticolonialism, and American power internationally. His was an idea of human rights that grew out of a longer-running critique of American hypocrisy, and that, while it responded to that past, also projected a new vision for the world.