Fiction and Human Rights Network

The University of Oxford's first collaborative network between the faculties of English and Law. 


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When the concerns of the real world are so pressing, what on earth do imagined worlds have to offer? The Fiction and Human Rights Network's specific focus is on the relationship between the novel – in its many languages, forms and politics – and the legal/political discourse of human rights. Our aim is to generate an interdisciplinary discussion addressing the ways in which the Humanities can contribute to the public sphere, and the theoretical, aesthetic or ‘humanist’ issues which underpin legal discourse and practice.

The Fiction and Human Rights Network has been existence since 2015, founded by Tessa Roynon and Natasha Simonsen. The Network was originally hosted by TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) which was launched in May 2013, providing an important opportunity for Oxford’s humanities scholars to collaborate with researchers across other disciplines and institutions. Since October 2017, the network has been hosted by the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights - a key programme that contributes to the Bonavero's Network Seminar Series alongside the Oxford Children's Rights Network and the Oxford Business and Human Rights Network.

The Fiction and Human Rights Network's inaugural one-day symposium was held in November 2015.   Entitled ‘Dignity and the Novel Since 1948,’ it explored how the ever-evolving themes and forms of the modern novel correspond to the status and function of human dignity as represented in contemporary legal theory and practice. A report on the event can be found here.

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Network co-convenors: Tessa Roynon and Jonathan Herring

Steering group members: Charles Foster and Michelle Kelly