Struggles for the Human

A book launch and conversation with Dr Lara Montesinos Coleman

A book launch and conversation with Dr Lara Montesinos Coleman, author of Struggles for the Human, also featuring Ayça Çubukçu & David Whyte

15th February 2024 | BLOC, Queen Mary University of London

Has liberalism reached its limit in foreign affairs? Can we develop a better alternative to the Western internationalism that seems to spur abuses even as it objects to them?

In Struggles for the Human, Lara Montesinos Coleman blends ethnography, political philosophy, and critical theory to reorient debates on human rights through attention to understandings of legality, ethics, and humanity in anticapitalist and decolonial struggle.

Drawing on her extensive involvement with grassroots social movements in Colombia, Coleman observes that mainstream expressions of human rights have become counterparts to capitalist violence, even as this discourse disavows capitalism’s deadly implications. At the same time, she rejects claims that human rights are inherently tied to capitalism, liberalism, or colonialism, instead showing how human rights can be used to combat these forces. Coleman demonstrates that when social justice struggles are rooted in marginalized communities’ lived experiences, they can reframe human rights and offer a blueprint for constructing alternative political economies. At the book launch, Coleman will discuss the concrete struggles for justice she has witnessed. Coleman’s work reveals the transformative potential of human rights and invites readers to question and reshape dominant legal and ethical narratives.

Lara was joined by two panelists: Ayça Çubukçu, Associate Professor in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and author of For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal On Iraq (2018); and David Whyte, Professor of Climate Justice at Queen Mary University of London and author of Ecocide: Kill the Corporation Before it Kills Us (2020). A Q&A followed, moderated by Lars Cornelissen, ISRF Academic Editor.

This event is the thirtieth in the ISRF’s series of Book Launches.