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A Conversation with Thomas Keenan

A Conversation with Thomas Keenan published on



As part of the 1949 UNESCO Human Rights Exhibition seminar series, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights is proud to present


Visual Culture of Human Rights


A Conversation with Thomas Keenan, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature; Director, Human Rights Program, Bard College


Date and time: Thursday 7 November 2013 at 6.15pm


Location: Second Floor Common Room, Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University (see directions here)


In a conversation with Thomas Keenan we will explore the historical and contemporary visual culture of human rights by drawing comparisons between UNESCO’s Human Rights exhibition from 1949 and the Family of Man exhibition from 1955. Questions will be raised about the role of images in giving meaning to the idea of human rights, be they linked to triumphant narratives, depictions of suffering, or acting as evidence.


This is the second event in a seminar series revolving around the largely unknown 1949 UNESCO Human Rights Exhibition – the first international event that sought to visually represent the history, meaning and content of the rights set out in the UDHR. The series will lead up to a new display of the exhibition archive at Columbia’s Buell Hall Gallery in April 2014. For more information, visit


This seminar series is made possible with the support of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, the Center for International History, and the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research.

The event is free and open to the public with limited seating offered.

unesco event