3 Transnat'l Legal Theory 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/trnsletho3 and id is 1 raw text is: (2012) 3(1) Transnational Legal Theory 1-29

Decolonial Strategies and Dialogue
in the Human Rights Field: A Manifesto
Jos6-Manuel Barreto
[let's imagine a universe-or a human rights field as] a sphere whose center is everywhere and
the circumference nowhere
-Jorge Luis Borges, or Pascal
Within the horizon of the critique of Eurocentrism, this manifesto presents methods of interpre-
tation that can advance the project of decolonising human rights and creating new Third World
discourses. These hermeneutical strategies include the re-contextualisation of human rights
theory in the historical horizon of modernity/coloniality; the elaboration of alternative geogra-
phies followed by provincialising human rights; deparochialising legal theory and constructing a
cosmopolitan jurisprudence; the 'universalisation' and 'globalisation' of human rights; the trans-
nationalisation of human rights; a re-writing of the history of rights; a becoming of the Other
into the Self; the critique of Critical Theory; the adoption of an ethics of emotions as an ethics of
human rights; and a dialogue between different traditions and rationalities of human rights. The
paper also presents concepts and ideas such as empire/suffering, modernity as crisis, the colonial
origins of human rights, postmodernity as an epoch of moral sensibilisation, power/epistemology,
and critical dialogue.
The quest to decolonise human rights can be summed up in two statements made by
Walter Mignolo: 'the future demands thinking beyond the Greeks and eurocentrism',
This is an early version of the Introduction to the book Human Rights from a Third World Perspective:
Critique, History and International Law, edited by Jos6-Manuel Barreto, which will be published by
Cambridge Scholars in 2013.
Research Fellow, Unit for Global Justice, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK. manuel.barreto@
gold.ac.uk. I am grateful to Anna Katharina MIangold, Christiana Ochoa, Mehrdad Payandeh and Peer
Zumbansen for suggesting that this text could take the form of an article or a manifesto; to Jothie Rajah
and Alfred Aman for encouragement; and to all my colleagues at the SIAS Summer Institute for making
comments on an earlier version I presented to the group at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law,
Bloomington, July 2012.
I Walter Mignolo, 'Philosophy and the Colonial Difference' in Eduardo Mendieta (ed), Latin American
Philosophy (Indiana University Press, 2003) 85.

DOI: 10.5235/TLT.3.1.1

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