The Center for Human Rights and Social Justice at Illinois Wesleyan University is pleased to announce that it will be sponsoring its fourth annual Human Rights Undergraduate Research Workshop from February 15 to February 17, 2019, ending with a morning breakfast on the 17th. This year’s theme is Changing Climates and Human Rights Discourse, with a dual emphasis upon the ways in which human rights discourse has evolved and responded to contemporary political, social, and economic challenges and/or the ways in which our understandings of environmental justice are informed by what human rights entail. Our theme corresponds to the Illinois Wesleyan Annual theme for 2018-2019, “Changing Climates.” This two-day event will gather undergraduate students from liberal arts institutions to present their independent research related to this theme. In the spirit of the workshop setting, presentations will be informal and there will be ample room for dialogue among all participants. Faculty mentors are also encouraged to attend.


Presently, we are finalizing various details regarding the workshop, and we are in the

process of confirming a keynote speaker. We invite students who are in the process of investigating topics related to the theme to apply and if selected, participate in the program. In creating a workshop format, we are especially interested in hosting students who are in the process but have not yet completed their research projects. Rather than create a formal research conference, we structure the workshop so that students share their preliminary findings, self-critique their efforts to date, and receive constructive feedback from peers and faculty through a process of mentorship that is designed to facilitate their completion of a worthy end product. The shared interactions among participants are among the most important benefits of the workshop, and a considerable degree of bonding between students attending different undergraduate institutions occurs. To date, students and faculty from colleges such as Luther, Beloit, Macalester, Kalamazoo, Grinnell, Vassar, Southwestern, Spellman and Albion have attended our previous workshops. Event speakers have included Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago), Jon Ebel (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Alfred Babo (Smith College), John Wilson (AAUP), Semahagn Gashu Abebe (University of Connecticut) and Mark Steinberg (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign).


All workshop expenses including food and lodging will be paid for by Illinois Wesleyan University. However, students will be required to obtain independent funds for their travel to and from Bloomington, Illinois. In order to be considered for participation in the workshop, interested students should submit a 500 word abstract summarizing their research project and obtain a letter of support from a faculty member at their home institution. Please submit abstracts and letters to by December 3rd. A faculty committee at Illinois Wesleyan University will review all applications and notify participants by December 21st. Thank you in advance for your help in circulating this information to all interested parties on your campus and please feel free to forward this invitation to colleagues and friends at sister institutions.


All the best,



Irv Epstein

Ben and Susan Rhodes Professor of Peace and Social Justice


Center for Human Rights and Social Justice

Illinois Wesleyan University at


Associate Directors, Center for Human Rights and Social Justice


Mark Criley

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Illinois Wesleyan University


Rebecca Gearhart

Professor of Anthropology

Illinois Wesleyan University


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