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Kiyoteru Tsutsui - Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan

Monday, February 11, 2019 - 12:00pm

Silverman Hall S-147 l (you can enter on 34th Street, just near the corner of 34th and Chestnut)

Since the late 1970s, the three most salient minority groups in Japan - the politically dormant Ainu, the active but unsuccessful Koreans, and the former outcaste group of Burakumin - have all expanded their activism despite the unfavorable domestic political environment. In Rights Make Might, Kiyoteru Tsutsui examines why, and finds an answer in the galvanizing effects of global human rights on local social movements. Tsutsui chronicles the transformative impact of global human rights ideas and institutions on minority activists, which changed their understandings about their standing in Japanese society and propelled them to new international venues for political claim making. The global forces also changed the public perception and political calculus in Japan over time, catalyzing substantial gains for their movements. Having benefited from global human rights, all three groups repaid their debt by contributing to the consolidation and expansion of human rights principles and instruments outside of Japan. Drawing on interviews and archival data, Rights Make Might offers a rich historical comparative analysis of the relationship between international human rights and local politics that contributes to our understanding of international norms and institutions, social movements, human rights, ethnoracial politics, and Japanese society.

Kiyoteru TsutsuiĀ is Professor of Sociology, Director of the Donia Human Rights Center, and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research on globalization of human rights and its impact on local politics has appeared in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and other social science journals. His book publications include Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan (Oxford University Press 2018), and a co-edited volume (with Alwyn Lim) Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World (Cambridge University Press 2015). He has been a recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, National Science Foundation grants, the SSRC/CGP Abe Fellowship, Stanford Japan Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, and other grants as well as awards from American Sociological Association sections on Global and Transnational Sociology (2010, 2013), Human Rights (2017), Asia and Asian America (2018), and Collective Behavior and Social Movements (2018).

Co-sponsored with the Center for Asian Law. LUNCH PROVIDED