About the masterclass
On 29 March 2018, the University of Antwerp formally confered its honorary degrees. On this occasion, Emeritus Professor Upendra Baxi (Universities of Warwick and Delhi, and National Law University Delhi) received an honorary degree for scientific merit in recognition of his expertise in the theory and practice of human rights, and in the sociology of law in Asia. The Faculty of Law hosted a masterclass by Emeritus Professor Upendra Baxi, organised by the Law and Development Research Group, on 'Situating human rights in the postpolitical landscape' in conversation with Professor Koen de Feyter (University of Antwerp) and Professor Sam Adelman (University of Warwick).
This brief conversation addresses the question of how the postpolitical may be said to relate to human rights. We explore the distinction between the ethical idea of human rights and the positive law and jurisprudence of human rights, some meanings given to the term ‘postpolitical’, and human rights as something that one must perform, regardless of what near or distant future may or may not bring. In this context, we seek to reverse Gramsci’s famous dictum and speak instead of optimism of the intellect and pessimism of will.
What may finitude have to do with the tasks of justice? Is immersion in the present moment all that we have? Do the obligations of justice extend only merely intra-generationally or intergenerationally (across three generations)?
The rapidly advancing Anthropocene asks us to confront as tasks of infinite justice, to obligations of multi-species solidarity and the rights of objects of nature, and even the mother Earth. Do the obligations of justice constitute a call to go beyond finitude to contemplate tasks ‘after infinity’?
About the speaker
Emeritus Professor Upendra Baxi (Universities of Warwick and Delhi, and National Law University Delhi) is a legal scholar, noted for his important work in the theory and practice of human rights, and in the sociology of law in Asia.
Professor Baxi received his LL.B. from Rajkot (South Gujarat) University and LL.M. degrees from the University of Bombay and the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a degree of Doctorate of Juristic Sciences (S.J.D.), also from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Baxi has taught courses in law and science, comparative constitutionalism and social theory of human rights at Universities of Sydney, Duke University, The American University, the New York University Law School Global Law Program, and the University of Toronto. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates in Law by the National Law School University of India, Bangalore, and the University of La Trobe, Melbourne.