Author Archives: Samantha Gupta

About Samantha Gupta

J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School. She earned her B.A. in mathematics and English literature from Macalester College, where she completed a research project on the role of narrative in the development of the international human rights regime. She is currently pursuing a career in public interest law.


How does narrative affect, and how is it affected by, the development and promotion of human rights? This article analyzes three schools of thought: (1) sympathetic narratives have, over significant arcs of time, cultivated our sensibilities, expanded our range of felt moral responsibility, and fundamentally altered the social function of empathy; (2) sympathetic narratives fail to promote human dignity because they allow the experience of emotional response to substitute for the experience of moral responsibility; and (3) neither of these general claims is useful; instead we should track the cultural functions of particular narrative forms in specific legal/organizational contexts. Continue reading →