The movement of peoples across borders, be it for the purposes of migration, refuge or asylum, continues to roil public opinion globally while states invent various legal and political strategies and techniques to circumvent their obligations. In this context, Hannah Arendt’s phrase, “the right to have rights” has continued to resonate as a powerful articulation of the dualistic commitments of the state system between internationally recognized human rights on the one hand and state sovereignty on the other as they try to control and administer people’s transnational movements. After updating Arendt’s analysis in the light of new legal and institutional developments in the post WW II period, Dr. Benhabib will focus on the dysfunctionalities of current refugee regimes. Situated between violence and the norm, refugee law has lost its ‘jurisgenerative’ powers and has slipped into ‘jurispathy.’ What can we as citizens and political activists do to revive jurisgenerative promises?
Seyla Benhabib is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University since 2001 and Senior Fellow at Columbia University’s Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, where she is currently the James S. Carpentier Visiting Professor of Law (Spring 2019). She was the President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in 2006-07 and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1995. She has previously taught at the New School for Social Research and Harvard Universities, where she was Professor of Government from 1993-2000 and Chair of Harvard’s Program on Social Studies from 1996-2000.
Professor Benhabib is the recipient of the Ernst Bloch prize for 2009, the Leopold Lucas Prize from the Theological Faculty of the University of Tubingen (2012), and the Meister Eckhart Prize (2014; one of Germany’s most prestigious philosophical prizes). A Guggenheim Fellowship recipient (2011-12), she has been research affiliate and senior scholar in many institutions in the US and in Europe including Berlin’s Wissenschaftskolleg (2009), NYU Strauss Center for the Study of Law and Justice (2012), the European University Institute in Florence (Summer 2015), Center for Gender Studies at Cambridge University ( Spring 2017), Columbia University Law School (Spring 2016; Spring 2018) and Center for Humanities and Critical Theory, Humboldt University Berlin (Summer 2018).
Professor Benhabib holds Honorary Degrees from the Universities of Utrecht (2004), Valencia (2010), Bogazici University in Istanbul (2012), Georgetown University (2014) and the University of Geneva Division of the Social Sciences (Fall 2018).
Her work has been translated into German, Spanish, French, Italian, Turkish, Swedish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, Polish, Japanese and Chinese and she has also edited and coedited 10 volumes on topics ranging from democracy and difference to the rights of migrant women and children; the communicative ethics controversy and Hannah Arendt. The volume, Migrations and Mobilities: Gender, Borders and Citizenship (NYU Press, 2009), co-edited with Judith Resnik from the Yale Law School has been named by Choice one of the outstanding academic books of the year.
Her most recent books include: Exile, Statelessness and Migration. Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin (Princeton University Press, 2018); Dignity in Adversity. Human Rights in Troubled Times (UK and USA: Polity Press, 2011); Gleichheit und Differenz. Die Würde des Menschen und die Souveränitätsansprüche der Vőlker ( Equality and Difference. Human Dignity and Popular Sovereignty. Bilingual edition in English and German: Mohr Siebeck, 2013); edited with Volker Kaul, Toward New Democratic Imaginaries. Istanbul Seminars on Islam, Culture, and Politics (Springer 2016); The Rights of Others. Aliens, Citizens and Residents (2004), winner of the Ralph Bunche award of the American Political Science Association (2005) and the North American Society for Social Philosophy award (2004); Another Cosmopolitanism: Hospitality, Sovereignty and Democratic Iterations, with responses by Jeremy Waldron, Bonnie Honig and Will Kymlicka (Oxford University Press, 2006) among others.