Visiting Scholar Highlight

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Rebecca Adami
Monday, August 28, 2017

Congratulation to former visiting scholar Dr. Rebecca Adami on the publication of three articles examining the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and, in particularly, the important role played by non-western female UN delegates in that process.

Adami was a Fulbright Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) at Columbia University during the 2014-2015 academic year. While with ISHR, she conducted archival research at the UN on the female delegates featured in her recent publications.

In her article On Subalternity and Representation: Female and Post-Colonial Subjects Claiming Universal Human Rights in 1948, Adami emphasizes the participation of women in the drafting process as having been crucial for the political articulation of human rights as an inclusive concept. She examines how the concept of human rights was changed due to the participation of United Nations women delegates.

Adami further examines the role of female delegates in her article Counter Narratives as Political Contestation: Universality, Particularity and Uniqueness. This article highlights three female delegates: Hansa Mehta, an Indian delegate and legislator; Shaista Begum Ikramullah, a Pakistani author and founder of the Muslim Women Students Federation in Pakistan; and Minerva Bernardino, a feminist politician and leader of women’s movements in the Dominican Republic. Adami argues their contributions provided distinctive counter narratives that were often quite different from those of the male participants. She argues such counter narratives are necessary to break patriarchal and colonial discriminatory practices.

Finally, her article Intersectional Dialogue – Analyzing Power in Reaching a Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948 on Conflicting Grounds analyzes intersections of power in dialogue, specifically in analyzing the relations between the particular and the universal in the negotiations surrounding the UDHR.

Adami lectures in International and Comparative Education and the School Principal Program at Stockholm University. Her research interest is on the study of human rights in the field of philosophy of education.

Click here to read more about Dr. Adami.