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University of Gothenburg

Critique of Abstract Right - Human Rights and Property in the Time and Age of the Haitian Revolution.

Carl Wilén finished his master degree in history of ideas in 2013, and his bachelor degree in sociology in 2011, both at the University of Gothenburg. Carl is a PhD student at the Department of Sociology and Work Science since January 2014.

Research interests

  • Sociological theory and political philosophy
  • Social change and social movements
  • Slavery, capitalism and modernity
  • Historical Sociology
  • Critique


Ongoing research

Preliminary title of the thesis: Critique of Abstract Right - Human Rights and Property in the Time and Age of the Haitian Revolution.

During the last decades, a new field that studies the origins and contemporary status of human rights has emerged. The aim of Carl's thesis is to contribute with a critique of the human rights field, by means of an intervention into an on-going conflict about universal juridico-political rights in the research on the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), in which slaves and their allies abolished slavery and created an independent state.

The thesis consists of historical investigations of the Haitian Revolution as a social movement and theoretical investigations of different possibilities to formulate the relation between abstract political forms and social property relations. Together, the diverse studies aim to provide a foundation, from which a general critique of the status and limits of human rights can be offered. 

Carl is also a member of the editorial committee of the journal Fronesis and a member of the editorial of the journal Röda Rummet

For published and unpublished essays and articles, see

Teaching and supervision

Carl lectures and holds seminars on the first level course in sociology, in economic sociology and in a course on theoretical and historical perspectives on the natural sciences. In addition, he teaches at the master course ”Social change” and holds seminars with a focus on classical sociology with future teachers. Carl is also a supervisor at the bachelor’s course.