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University of Gothenburg

Symposium: Historical and Political perspectives on Human Rights

On May 25-26th 2021, a symposium will be arranged at the University of Gothenburg on the history and future of human rights.


Against the background of rampant economic inequality, increased social polarization and the rise of authoritarian populism, it is motivated to revisit the role and status of human rights. To discuss how we can understand human rights as a historical and political problem, we have invited some of the foremost authorities in the world to discuss the subject in Gothenburg between the 25th and 26th of May 2021.

Speakers are: 

  • Professor Samuel Moyn, Yale University
  • Associate Professor Jessica Whyte, University of New South Wales
  • Professor John Milbank, University of Nottingham, UK
  • Assistant Professor Igor Shoikhedbrod, University of Toronto
  • Professor Lena Halldenius, Lunds universitet
  • Professor Elena Namli, Uppsala universitet


25 May

09.00-09.20 Opening of the symposium

09.20-10.20: Presentation (P) by Shoikhedbrod

10.20-10.40: Comments (C) by Whyte

10.45-11.45: Halldenius (P)

11.45-12.05: Milbank (C)

12.05-13.30: Lunch

13.30-14.30: Namli (P)

14.30-14.50: Shoikhedbrod (C)

14.55-15.55: Milbank (P)

15.55-16.15: Moyn (C)

16.15-16.40: Coffee and sandwiches

16.40-17.40: Moyn (P)

17.40-18.00: Halldenius (C)

26 May:

08.20-09.20: Whyte (P)

09.20-09.40: Namli (C)

09.40-11.00: Concluding discussion I with Igor Shoikhedbrod, Jessica Whyte and Elena

Namli, moderated by professor Ola Sigurdson.

15.30-16.50: Concluding discussion II with Samuel Moyn, John Milbank and Lena Halldenius, moderated by professor Ola Sigurdson.


Dates: May 25-26, 2021. 

Venue: The symposium is held over video. In order to access the link, please use the e-mail address below.

Organizers: Tomas Wedin (Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion), Johan Söderberg (Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science) and Carl Wilén (The Department of Sociology and Work Science).

Free admission, but registration needs to be done in advance.

Registration and more: 

For further information, contact the organizer at:

The project is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond,  and three departments at the University of Gothenburg: Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion, The Department of Sociology and Work Science, and Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science.

Video (09:26)
See parts of the symposium!