Abstract: Michal Heiman’s project, Return: asylum (the Dress, 1855-2018), consists of photographs of women and men clothed in a dress similar to one worn by women inmates at the former Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in the 1850s. Traversing time, space, gender, race and institutional practices of asylum, the artist takes the viewers on a ride in a time machine that is not a technological devise but a discourse on memory and on owning the future: s/he who wears the dress has the potential to return as witness, reader, artist, prosecutor, gate-keeper or rebel, thereby transforming her exceptional story into ours. Return: Asylum is an act of resistance: it engages human imagination in re-presenting the regenerative power of human solidarity as an alternative to current political practices that sacrifice the right of asylum—the only right that since the dawn of political life, as noted by Arendt, “has ever figured as a symbol of the Rights of Man”—at the altar of a security theology.
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Our latest issue of Humanity is out! It features essays on refugee theory and the necessity of trespass in Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year; the Balfour declaration as an instrument of imperial protection and Palestinian dispossession; late-Soviet economic thought and global debates over the role of state planning in development; the role of Brazilian Liberation Theology in framing Western European human rights media coverage of Brazil’s military dictatorship; the Standing Rock protests as offering a language of human rights not oriented towards the state; and a review of three recent books that theorize human rights in the face of critique.View entire issue >
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