Rhetoric Spring Colloquium: Samuel Moyn, “Human Rights in the Neoliberal Maelstrom”

Sam moyn poster

Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History at Yale University, will be speaking on "Human Rights in the Neoliberal Maelstrom" on Thursday, March 15th at 3:30pm in 820 Barrows Hall. A reception for Samuel Moyn’s forthcoming book, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World, will precede the talk from 3:00-3:30pm. 


This lecture takes a position in a current debate about how to conceptualize the relationship between human rights and neoliberal globalization. The timing of the two phenomena — one in ethics and one in economics — has coincided, both rising since a 1970s breakthrough. But debate rages about whether to see human rights as the best tools to oppose their neoliberal Doppelgänger or to regard the new law and movements around rights — including economic and social rights — as part of the problem. This talk rejects both extreme positions in order to seek a different alternative. Of course human rights are a product of their time, but this hardly means they are easy to dismiss. However, as a set of ethical propositions and a set of practices, human rights are not what we need to confront economic injustice.


 This lecture is free and open to the public. 

With Marianne Constable, Professor of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley, as discussant

Co-sponsored by the Social Science Matrix, the Human Rights Program, and the Townsend Working Group on Law and Contemporary Theory


Samuel Moyn has written several books in his fields of European intellectual history and human rights history, including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (2010), and edited or coedited a number of others. His most recent book, based on Mellon Distinguished Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2014, is Christian Human Rights (2015). A final book of human rights history, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in April 2018. Over the years he has written in venues such as Boston Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Dissent, The Nation, The New Republic, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.