The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Partners for change at the intersection of academics and advocacy.

Working Groups

The Rapoport Center sponsors collaborative working groups initiated by our affiliated faculty that research various human rights topics. These groups are comprised of faculty and students from diverse disciplines across campus. Affiliated faculty may join an existing working group or propose their own using the Call for Working Group Proposals.

The goals of the working group program include: identifying and generating sustained attention to critical issues on the leading edge of human rights scholarship; fostering ongoing interaction and intellectual cooperation among affiliated faculty; and encouraging the development of a unique brand of human rights scholarship that is multidisciplinary, critical, theoretically innovative, and empirically and practically informed.

We currently support the following working groups:

Human Rights & Archives

The relationship between archives and social justice is often understood in terms of the role archives can play in human rights prosecutions. The Working Group aims to broaden this understanding by examining the transformative potential of what archives can do and be. To that end, we would like to bring together faculty, students, archivists, administrators, and community partners interested in critical approaches to archive-building and analysis. We have a particular interest in facilitating connections among the different special collections and archives across the campus and in promoting their use in classroom teaching. More generally, we wish to consider how the academy can be more radical in archiving and exhibiting public life—especially in collaboration with communities that are typically excluded from archival practices.

If you are interested in becoming involved with this working group, please email Andi Gustavson.

Health & Human Rights

The Health & Human Rights Working Group originally began as an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students interested in fostering a university-wide conversation on the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. It has since expanded its focus to include other health and human rights issues.

The working group holds an annual World AIDS Day Conference to heighten awareness about the impact of the AIDS pandemic on minority and impoverished populations in the U.S. and abroad.

If you are interested in becoming involved with this working group, please email Neville Hoad.

Human Rights & the Arts

The Human Rights and the Arts Working Group maintains that literature, music, theatre, dance, and the visual arts hold an integral role in expressing the need for social and political change, in fostering education on social injustice, and in building more just and equitable societies. The Working Group supports the role of the arts in social justice advocacy through sponsoring performance events and film series, fostering interdisciplinary dialogue at the university, encouraging student research on this topic, and through conducting outreach in the community.

The Working Group's participants include a team of faculty and students from diverse disciplines such as Ethnomusicology, History, Social Work, Art History, Business, and Law.

If you are interested in becoming involved with this working group, please email Luis Cárcamo-Huechante.

Gender & Security

The goal of this working group is to critically examine dominant concepts of security, and how gender does and should factor in the discussion. Faculty and students from across campus are invited to explore the relationship between gender and security through the use of literature, the arts, law, history, queer studies, politics, human rights, and anthropology.

If you are interested in becoming involved with this working group, please email Jacqueline Chandler.

Border Wall

The Border Wall Working Group focuses on investigating the human rights impact of the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, including discrimination in the exercise of property rights. In 2008, a working group delegation traveled to affected border areas on an information-gathering mission and compiled its conclusions in a series of briefing papers submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The Border Wall Working Group is a multi-disciplinary collective of faculty and students from the geography and anthropology departments, LLILAS, the LBJ and law schools, the immigration and environmental law clinics, and the Rapoport Center. This working group collaborates with affected individual property owners, indigenous communities, environmental groups, environmental sciences faculty at UT Brownsville, and other academics and advocates.  Please visit the Texas-Mexico Border Wall website to learn more.

If you are interested in becoming involved with this working group, please email Denise Gilman.