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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In our new issue we feature Jessica Whyte’s piece on Just War, Decolonization and the Geneva Conventions. Also in this issue are essays on humanitarianism, postcolonialism and the fiction of Bessie Head, the international movement for Iranian political prisoners, Mexico’s contribution to International Economic Order, filming force feeding in Guantanamo, and a photo dossier on Asylum/Home. We end with a review essay on the humanitarian conscience.View entire issue >
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The journal Humanity was founded in 2010 to examine the politics of “humanity” found in the convergence of human rights, humanitarianism and development. This was a period when a critique of human rights and the entanglements of humanitarianisms with empire was also gaining momentum. The current editorial collective affirms Humanity’s founding mission while attuning to new challenges. A complex dynamic of old problems and emerging obstacles has occasioned a chastened turn to human rights and humanitarianism: a renewed call to humanity has gained traction in Continue reading →
Edinburgh, October 2018 From migrants facing death at borders around the world, to the different chapters of the “War on Terror,” to the politics of post-genocide, our era seems to be marked by the constant politicisation of death. Social and physical death are increasingly intertwined in various spectacles of horror. Clearly, not all deaths are treated equally. Trenchant questions remain over what kinds of death are deemed morally, political and legally significant; and what kinds of death are rendered visible or invisible, and with what Continue reading →