Scholarship and non-fiction:

Michael Richardson is one of the many scholars contributing to our project. He’s written a great text on Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces, which you can read here. In 2013, he wrote the book Gestures of Testimony: Torture, Trama and Affect in Literature, which you can check out by clicking the “Goodreads”-link down below.

“Challenging accepted thinking, Gestures of Testimony asks how literature might bear witness to the tortures of a war waged against fear itself”



Evil Men (James Dawes)

In 2013, James Dawes published Evil Men, for which he won the “Importance in Increasing the Awareness of Human Rights” award. The book is an eye-catching description of the horrors of wars, delivered by the kind of people who committed unspeakable crimes. You can check out the book by clicking on the “Goodreads”-link down below.

“Do our stories of evil deeds make a difference? Can we depict atrocity without sensational curiosity? Anguished and unflinchingly honest, as eloquent as it is raw and painful, “Evil Men” asks hard questions about the most disturbing capabilities human beings possess, and acknowledges that these questions may have no comforting answers.”


This book is an interesting piece, exploring and questioning the American understanding of human rights and it’s place in the world.

The novel of human rights responds to deep forces within America’s politics, society, and culture, Dawes shows. His illuminating study clarifies many ethical dilemmas of today’s local and global politics and helps us think our way, through them, to a better future. Vibrant and modern, the human rights novel reflects our own time and aspires to shape the world we will leave for those who come after. ”



In this volume, Greg Forter underlines the important role postcolonial historical fiction plays in examining, and coming to terms with, the relationship between the past and present.

“It shows how the genre’s treatment of colonialism illustrates continuities between the colonial era and our own and how the genre distils from our colonial pasts the evanescent, utopian intimations of a properly postcolonial future.”

(Oxford University Press)


In an award-winning essay published in PMLA (a magazine published by The Modern Language Organization of America), Joseph R. Slaughter examines the relationship between the human rights laws and the Bildungsroman.

“Historically, formally, and ideologically, they are mutually enabling and complicit fictions: each projects, in advance of administrative structures comparable to those of the nation-state, an image of human personality and sociality that ratifies (and makes legible) the other’s idealistic vision of the proper relations between individual and society.”

(Full essay available at JSTOR)


Elizabeth S. Anker’s 2012 book examines several novels to uncover the treatment of human rights in postcolonial fiction.

“Elizabeth S. Anker shows how the dual enabling fictions of human dignity and bodily integrity contribute to an anxiety about the body that helps to explain many of the contemporary and historical failures of human rights, revealing why and how lives are excluded from human rights protections along the lines of race, gender, class, disability, and species membership”

(Cornell University Press)


This book contains several essays useful for reflecting and broadening one’s own understanding of the relationship between literature and human rights.

“Drawn from many different global contexts, the essays offer an ideal introduction for those approaching the study of literature and human rights for the first time, looking for new insights and interdisciplinary perspectives, or interested in new directions for future scholarship.”

(Routledge Taylor & Francis Group)


A companion book that “explores the historical and institutional contexts, theoretical concepts, genres, and methods that literature and human rights share. Equally accessible to beginners in the field and more advanced researches, this Companion emphasizes both the literary and interdisciplinary dimensions of human rights and the humanities.”

(Cambridge University Press)


This book and its collections of essays offer the reader a look into how literary theory can help us understand human rights, and visa versa. 

“How have human rights concerns shaped the literary marketplace, and how can literature impact human rights concerns? Essays in this volume theorize how both literature and reading literarily can shape understanding of human rights in productive ways.”