Author Archives: Laura Kunreuther

About Laura Kunreuther

Laura Kunreuther is associate professor at Bard College. Her first book, Voicing Subjects: Public Intimacy and Mediation in Kathmandu (University of California Press, 2014), traces the relation between public speech and notions of personal interiority during a moment of political upheaval in Nepal. She is currently engaged in two new projects that both explore sound, listening, and political subjectivity. The first centers on the use of sound for political and artistic protest; the second centers on the role of interpreters deployed in field missions of the UN.

Earwitnesses and Transparent Conduits of Voice: On the Labor of Field Interpreters for UN Missions

Abstract: This essay considers the labor of field interpreters who worked for the UN during two critical missions in Nepal—the UN High Commission of Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) during and after the Maoist civil war. Interpreters negotiate two different ethical stances that resonate with contrasting ethical approaches in human rights and humanitarian work. As conduits of voice, an interpreter seeks to be neutral and impartial, a non-autonomous figure of mediation within the work of human rights. Field interpreters Continue reading → Continue reading →