The Aesthetics of Rights and Wrongs

Poster The Aesthetics of Rights and Wrongs

On 19-21 June, 2023, USN will host an international conference on the theme ‘The Aesthetics of Rights and Wrongs’. The event will be held at USN’s campus Drammen in association with the research group ‘Human Rights & Diversities’.

19 Jun

Praktisk informasjon

Too often, aesthetic engagements with human rights issues are conceived as mere vehicles for communicating the fact of atrocity, rather than as complex negotiations with its various motivations, manifestations, and ramifications—an approach which privileges particular hermeneutic avenues and subject positions, rendering aesthetics instrumental. This event aims to explore other openings, focusing overdue critical attention on relations between human rights issues and the specificities of aesthetic engagements with those issues today.

Call for papers

keyboard_backspace Download full call for papers (.pdf)

Abstract Submission

Submissions are now closed. Applicants will be informed of whether their submissions have been successful by 1 February, 2023, and a full programme will be uploaded in due course.


Please direct general enquiries to

Registration fee and deadlines

Participation in the conference is contingent on the payment of a standard registration fee of 2,550 NOK. This sum will cover all costs associated with attending the conference, including lunches, coffee breaks and get together dinner at Monday 19 June. With the sole exception of the conference dinner fee of 875 NOK.
Costs associated with travel and accommodation are covered by participants themselves.


Registration form


Practical information

Keynote speakers
  • James Dawes, DeWitt Wallace Professor of English, Macalester College
    James Dawes is the DeWitt Wallace Professor of English and Director of the Program in Human Rights and Humanitarianism at Macalester College. He is the author of The Novel of Human Rights (Harvard University Press, 2018); Evil Men (Harvard University Press, 2013), winner of the International Human Rights Book Award; That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity (Harvard University Press, 2007), Independent Publisher Book Award Finalist; and The Language of War (Harvard University Press, 2002). He has written for media outlets ranging from The Washington Post to and has appeared as the feature guest on radio and television stations from the U.K. to Poland. He was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University. He received his PhD in English Literature from Harvard University and his M. Phil. from Cambridge University.
  • Jakob Lothe, Professor Emeritus of English Literature, University of Oslo
    Jakob Lothe is Professor of English Literature. Lothe’s main research interest is narrative theory and analysis. He has developed a method that combines constituent elements of classical narratology, rhetorical narrative theory, narrative hermeneutics, memory studies, and studies of the narrative ethics of fiction and film. In his current work, Lothe aims to improve our understanding of the ethics of storytelling, while at the same time highlighting the key role of the ethics which readers and viewers take with them to the act, and experience, of reading and viewing. His books include Conrad’s Narrative Method (Oxford UP, 1989; paperback ed. 1991), Narrative in Fiction and Film (Oxford UP, 2000; also published in Chinese by Peking UP, 2011), and, as editor or co-editor, The Art of Brevity (South Carolina UP, 2004; paperback ed. 2011), Literary Landscapes (Palgrave, 2008), Joseph Conrad (Ohio State UP, 2008), Franz Kafka (Ohio State UP, 2011), After Testimony: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future (Ohio State UP, 2012), Narrative Ethics (Rodopi, 2013), Time’s Witnesses: Women’s Voices from the Holocaust (Fledgling Press, 2017; also published in Chinese by Shanghai Joint Publishing Company, 2021), The Future of Literary Studies (Novus Press, 2017), Research and Human Rights (Novus Press, 2020), Nordic and European Modernisms (MDPI, 2021) and Nordic Travels (Novus Press, 2021).
  • Brenda Werth, Associate Professor and Director of Latin American and Spanish Studies, American University
    Brenda Werth is Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at American University. Her research interests include Latin American theater, performance, documentary film, memory studies, human rights, gender and sexuality rights, feminist movements, and translation. She is author of the book Theatre, Performance, and Memory Politics in Argentina (Palgrave 2010); co-editor (with Paola Hernández and Florian Becker) of Imagining Human Rights in Twenty-First Century Theatre: Global Perspectives (Palgrave 2013); and co-editor (with May Summer Farnsworth and Camilla Stevens) of Escrito por mujeres (LATR Books 2013). She also co-translated and coedited (with April Sweeney) the anthology, Fauna and Other Plays by Romina Paula, forthcoming with Seagull Press in December 2022. Her current book project, Fictions of the Real: Synergies Between Screen and Stage in Argentine Performance, explores the politics of nonfiction in twenty-first-century Argentine theater and film. A second project examines modes of feminist activism against gender violence in Latin America.

The conference will be held at the University of South-Eastern Norway’s campus in DRammen. Trains from Oslo to Drammen run regularly throughout the day, and the journey takes c. 40 minutes. Those arriving from overseas can take the airport train (Flytoget) directly from Gardermoen airport to Drammen. This journey takes c. 60 minutes. The USN campus is a comfortable 10-minute walk from the train station.

Sessions will be held on the 6th floor of the main university building, Papirbredden 1.

Additional travel information will be posted in due course.


The conference will officially open at 15.00 on Monday 19 June, 2023, and will close at 15.00 on Wedensday 21 June, 2023. A full schedule will be posted in due course.


This event is organised by Dr. Lotta Strandberg, Dr. Tom Z. Bradstreet, Dr. Lena Lybæk, and Dr. Ådne Valen-Sendstad, and is supported by the research group Human Rights & Diversities.

Scientific committee