International Faculty Book Series Features Human Rights Around the World

CONTACT: Wendy Christensen, Communications, Division of International Studies, UW–Madison,, 608 262-5590

UW­–Madison’s International Institute Faculty Book Series Features Human Rights Around the World

Celebrating the contributions that UW–Madison faculty bring to the study of human rights, this semester’s book series offers diverse perspectives and voices to shed light on these complex issues.

This popular and long-running book series, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Division of International Studies, the International Institute, and the University Bookstore, brings together avid readers and UW–Madison faculty for public, lively discussions about topics from around the world.

All the talks take place at 7pm at the University Bookstore in the Hilldale Mall (702 N. Midvale Boulevard).

They are free and open to the public.­

Tuesday, April 8
Robert Skloot (UW–Madison, Theatre and Drama, Jewish Studies)
Theatre of Genocide: Four Plays about Mass Murder in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia and Armenia (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008)

In this pioneering volume, Robert Skloot brings together four plays—three of which are published here for the first time—that fearlessly explore the face of modern genocide. The scripts deal with the destruction of four targeted populations: Armenians, Cambodians, Bosnian Muslims, and Rwandan Tutsis. Taken together, these four plays erase the boundaries of theatrical realism to present stories that probe the actions of the perpetrators and the suffering of their victims. A major artistic contribution to the study of the history and effects of genocide, this collection continues the important journey toward understanding the terror and trauma to which the modern world has so often been witness.

Upcoming author:

Tuesday, May 6
Leigh Payne (UW–Madison, Political Science)
Unsettling Accounts: The Politics and Performance of Confessions by Perpetrators of Authoritarian State Violence (Duke University Press, 2007)

Payne draws on interviews, unedited television film, newspaper archives, and books written by perpetrators to analyze confessions of state violence in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and South Africa. Each of these four countries addressed its past through a different institutional form, from blanket amnesty, to conditional amnesty based on confessions, to judicial trials. Payne considers perpetrators’ confessions as performance, examining what perpetrators say and what they communicate non-verbally; the timing, setting, and reception of their confessions; and the different ways that the perpetrators portray their pasts, whether in terms of remorse, heroism, denial, or sadism, or through lies or betrayal.

Past events:

Tuesday, February 12
Gay Seidman (UW–Madison, Sociology)
Beyond the Boycott: Labor Rights, Human Rights, and Transnational Activism (Russell Sage Foundation Publications, 2007)

Beyond the Boycott examines three campaigns (in South Africa, India, and Guatemala) in which activists successfully used the threat of a consumer boycott to pressure companies to accept voluntary codes of conduct and independent monitoring of work sites. As trade and capital move across borders in growing volume and with greater speed, civil society and human rights movements are also becoming more global. Highly original and thought-provoking, Beyond the Boycott vividly depicts the contemporary movement to humanize globalization—its present and its possible future.

Tuesday, March 11
V. Narayana Rao (UW–Madison, Languages and Cultures of Asia)
Girls for Sale: Kanyasulkam, A Play from Colonial India (Indiana University Press, 2007)

First staged in 1892, the South Indian play Girls for Sale (Kanyasulkam) is considered the greatest modern work of Telugu literature and the first major drama written in an Indian language that critiqued British colonialism’s effects on Indian society. Filled with humor, biting social commentary, parody, and masquerade, the plot revolves around a clever courtesan, a young widow, and a very old man who wants to buy as his wife a very young girl. V. Narayana Rao has prepared the first idiomatic English translation, with notes and a critical essay. Itself a masterpiece of Indian literature in translation, this edition makes Apparao’s work available to new audiences.