Cult C: Contemporary Statelessness and the Status of the Human
James McFarland (Vanderbilt University)
The huge population displacements that have been so characteristic of twentieth and twenty-first century international politics raise the question of the legal and political status of people without a state. If human rights are vested in people simply by virtue of being human, what happens to those rights when a person has become stateless? Following Hannah Arendt's discussion of a paradoxical "right to have rights" that the theory of human rights presupposes and the practicalities of statelessness debunk, we will consider the controversial question of human rights outside the nation-state, Readings by Jacques Rancière, Etienne Balibar, and other political theorists taking up Arendt's discussion will guide our reflections, while testing our conclusions against the contemporary difficulties that international organizations, stateless nationalities, and displaced persons of various sorts raise for claims of human rights.