Working Paper Series
Dedicated to interdisciplinary and critical dialogue on international human rights law and discourse, the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series (WPS) publishes innovative papers by established and early-career researchers as well as practitioners. The goal is to provide a productive environment for debate about human rights among academics, policymakers, activists, practitioners, and the wider public.
Authors from all disciplines and institutions are welcome to submit papers on any topic related to human rights. Submissions are received on a rolling basis and undergo a rigorous selection process. The interdisciplinary editorial committee, which includes graduate students and faculty from across the University of Texas, provides detailed comments and feedback to authors before the paper is published online. Publication in the WPS does not preclude future publication elsewhere; in fact, many of our working papers have since been published in academic journals and edited volumes.
Each year, the WPS publishes the winning paper from the Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights, an interdisciplinary writing competition organized by the Rapoport Center. The prize honors Audre Rapoport, who worked tirelessly for the advancement of women in the US and internationally, particularly on issues of reproductive health.
The WPS also fosters international human rights scholarship through its collaboration with Sur: International Journal on Human Rights, a São Paulo-based journal that is published biannually in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. WPS editors work with Sur to edit articles that have been translated to English from a variety of languages. Through this partnership, the WPS expands human rights dialogue across linguistic borders.
To learn more about how to submit a paper, click here.
This paper explores strategies to justify refugee exclusion that are employed by Twitter users who tweet with the hashtag #refugeesnotwelcome.
Initiatives aimed at combating inequality through the promotion and protection of the human right to education—specifically those of Mercosur’s Educational Sector (SEM)—may have the unintended consequence of perpetuating already existing educational inequalities and, by extension, economic inequality among and within the block’s member states.
The six nations that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—have found themselves severely criticized for the abhorrent conditions that migrant workers frequently face in these countries.
Far from empowering women or supporting the poor, Nike’s rebranding project is an attempt to discipline girls, and the NGOs that represent them, into behaviors that support the status quo, distract from corporations’ misbehavior and expand the power of the market.
Exactly how do indigenous actors elicit the right of self-determination as inherited, and to what extent does such agency reconstitute or validate human rights norms? This essay proposes that within their unique project of self-representation and activism, the Kayapo indigenous society is indeed reformulating the concept of self-determination.
This article analyzes the case of community mothers as street-level bureaucrats who produce the rule of law in their local spaces, within an institutional or democratic mechanism. This case study of community mothers, developed between June 2012 and February 2013, shows how street-level bureaucrats use the rule of law as a tool of empowerment.
This paper looks more closely at the UN conception of human security in relation specifically to violence against women.
Scholars often argue that the culture of American constitutionalism provides an important constraint on aggressive national security practices. This article challenges the conventional account by highlighting instead how modern constitutional reverence emerged in tandem with the national security state, functioning critically to reinforce and legitimate government power rather than simply to place limits on it.
In June 2011, the International Labor Conference adopted the Domestic Workers Convention (the Convention), the first international labor standard to set out legal obligations that specifically protect and improve the working lives of domestic workers. This paper argues that previous regulatory attempts to protect domestic workers have been inadequate and, although it is an improvement, the Convention is currently also an insufficient legal instrument.
The paper shows that the normative effects produced by San Francisco’s CEDAW initiative are not well captured by existing schematic approaches to the behaviour of sub-state actors, which tend to apply either a linear measure of compliance with international law or some general idea about good and/or bad local variation.
This article situates the fight against impunity in the history and trajectory of the human rights movement from the 1970s until today. It argues that the movement’s early ideology of antipolitics has reemerged in recent years, functioning to defer—even suppress—substantive debates over visions of social justice, even while relying on criminal justice systems of which the movement has long been critical.
This working paper explores legal and policy issues that arise when collections of documents pertaining to past atrocities are discovered in societies emerging from civil war, state collapse, or dire misrule.
This article is based on two months of fieldwork conducted in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2010. It is a feminist reflection on the politics of aid, gender, and religion within the context of civil society organizations’ efforts to address violence against women in Afghanistan
The concept of reputational dividends is developed in this paper to emphasize that as nation-states become increasingly integrated into a global social system, the symbolic dimension of power becomes more salient in forging state autonomy.
This paper considers the contribution of the UNDP’s Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP) framework to the rights and poverty reduction discourse.
This paper examines Libya’s most recent (and ongoing) uprising—following the largely peaceful popular overthrows of the repressive governments in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt (and complemented by the more violent and still unresolved confrontations in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and in sub-Saharan Africa from Uganda to Swaziland as well) in the first months of 2011
This paper develops a theoretical approach to justice and reparations that helps to explain the gap between the international normative framework and activist discourses.
In “Wearing Out Arizona,” Sandra K. Soto describes and analyzes what her colleague K. Tsianina Lomawaima has aptly coined Arizona’s “regressive suite of legislation.”
Although the recognition of forced marriage signifies the SCSL’s commitment to actively prosecute gender-based crimes, and may further set persuasive precedent for other international adjudicative bodies, there remain certain elements of this crime that, despite the Appeals Chamber’s decision, are unsettled and unclear. The purpose of this paper is to raise, explore, and assess these pressing questions.
Drawing on post-colonial feminist theory, this thesis provides a critical assessment of United Nations (UN) gender-based violence theory and practice.
In Colombia’s decades-long armed conflict, between one-fourth to one-third of combatants are women. This paper addresses the problem of reintegrating female combatants in Colombia’s violent conflict into civil society after they have left armed groups.