May 10, 2023
12:30pm - 1:30pm    |    Wilf Conference Room 5th Floor, Wilf Hall

Zoom Link

Jeremy Perelman is Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Sciences Po Law School in Paris, France. He has been involved in a variety of research, teaching and advocacy projects in the fields of human rights and development in the U.S., France, South Africa, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Latin America. A member of the Paris Bar, Perelman holds Masters degrees in International Law and International Affairs from Stanford Law School and the Fletcher School at Tufts University, as well as a Doctorate (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School.

His research focuses on the intersection between human rights-based approaches to sustainable development, global economic governance, and social change advocacy in the Global South. He is the co-editor of Stones of Hope: How African Activists Reclaim Human rights to Challenge Global Poverty (with Lucie E. White eds., Stanford University Press, November 2010), a volume co-authored by African human rights advocates and social justice scholars. He has been a recurring Faculty member of the Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) since 2012, and is an Alliance Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School in the Fall of 2022. He is also the Faculty and Executive Director of the Sciences Po Law School Clinic, and sits on the Editorial Committee of the European Journal of Human Rights.

Title: The Rights-ification of Climate Change

Abstract: In this brown-bag talk, Professor Perelman will present preliminary insights from his current research at CHRGJ on the use of rights-based discourse, tools and strategies with regards to ecological transition, starting with climate change. This project explores in particular how human rights and rights-talk are deployed by various actors in relation to environmental and climate change law and/or justice frameworks, be it through the articulation of a ‘human right to a healthy environment’ or conceptual and legal innovations such as the human rights of future generations or the rights of Nature. By examining and mapping current discourses and practices including but not limited to climate litigation, in which leading voices have usefully identified a ’rights turn’, it seeks to highlight the range of normativities, ideological positionings, theories of change and visions of the political economy that underpin this emerging field. In doing so, the project seeks to examine how this deployment of rights-talk relates to earlier moments of rights-ification, in particular in the era of the ‘mainstreaming’ of human rights in post-Washington Consensus discourse on development, as well as in the emergence of the ‘business and human rights’ framework and the deployment of rights-talk in the field of investment. Furthermore, it aims to (1) examine how the mobilization of rights-talk  may shape and/or is being shaped by the political economy of climate change and ecological transition, and (2) explore whether and how it may open up pathways for new emancipatory practices that transcend liberal/modernist regimes of accountability and political horizons. Through this research, Prof. Perelman seeks to both question and inform rights-based legal-political moves currently multiplying on the ground. He also seeks to explore whether and how rising ecological consciousness is not only re-shaping law and governance, but the very epistemological foundations of law.


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