Drake University
Phone: (515) 271-1844
Email: debra.delaet@drake.edu

Debra L. DeLaet is Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She serves as the David E. Maxwell Distinguished Professor of International Affairs. Her major research interests are in the area of human rights, global health, and gender issues in world politics. She has published three books: U.S. Immigration Policy in an Age of Rights (Praeger 2000), The Global Struggle for Human Rights (Wadsworth, 2006), and (co-authored with David E. DeLaet) Global Health in the 21st Century: the Globalization of Disease and Wellness (Paradigm Publishers, 2012). In addition to these books, she has published numerous articles and book chapters in her areas of interest.

Human Rights in the Everyday
This talk explores how the contestation over human rights takes place in our everyday lives—in our families, our workplaces, and our civic spaces. Accordingly, potential efforts to promote human rights need to be integrated into our everyday lives. The talk’s focus on this everyday lever for human rights promotion seeks to broaden the vision of what constitutes human rights and social justice work by exploring the capacities of actors that are not formally part of international human rights laws and institutions. It builds on approaches to civic engagement that focus on “everyday politics” and emphasize the political capacities of actors in a wide range of settings to generate change. The talk will build on a vision of citizenship that calls upon individual citizens to do far more than vote in any effort to produce meaningful civic change. It will investigate the potential for non-state actors and everyday citizens to engage in transformative practices intended to advance human rights outside of the context of formal law and governance.

Justice, War Crimes, and Human Rights Abuses
War-torn societies face several difficult questions as they seek to pursue justice in the aftermath of violent conflict. To what extent shall individuals guilty of war crimes and human rights abuses be punished? How should new leaders balance potential tradeoffs between the goals of justice and peace? How can renewed cycles of violence best be prevented? This presentation will explore these questions while providing an overview of the wide variety of mechanism that have been used in an effort to pursue justice in war-torn societies, including trials, truth commissions, reparations, and official apologies.

Universal Human Rights
The idea of human rights first achieved a prominent place on the international agenda of states in the aftermath of World War II. Since that time, a large body of international human rights law has been created. Nevertheless, states with egregious human rights records are often parties to major human rights documents, and human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated across the globe. This presentation will present an overview of international human rights law and will consider the current status of universal human rights in international relations.