Five leading thinkers on the concept of rights in an era of rightlessness Sixty years ago, the political theorist Hannah Arendt, deprived of her German citizenship as a Jew and in exile from her country, observed that before people can enjoy any of the inalienable Rights of Man before there can be any specific rights to education, work, voting, and so on there must first be such a thing as the right to have rights. The concept received little attention at the time, but in our age of refugee crises and extra-state war, the phrase has become the center of a crucial and lively debate. Here five leading thinkers from varied disciplines, including history, law, and politics, discuss the critical issue of the basis of rights and the meaning of radical democratic politics today."
Alastair Hunt is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Portland State University. His current book project is called Rights of Romanticism. Stephanie DeGooyer is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Willamette University. Her work focuses on the intersection between law, politics, and aesthetics. She is completing a book called The Aesthetics of Democracy. Werner Hamacher is Emmanuel Levinas Chair of Philosophy at the European Graduate School. His books include Pleroma: Reading in Hegel and Minima Philologica. Samuel Moyn is Professor of Law and History at Harvard University. He is the author of Human Rights and the Uses of History, Christian Human Rights, and other books. Astra Taylor is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and activist. Her films include Examined Life, and her books include The People s Platform."