Dr Vidya Kumar, Lecturer in Law at Birmingham Law School delivered a keynote speech at the Getting Closure: Human Rights after Human Rights conference hosted by the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) on 5 May 2015. The title of her talk was 'Revolution and the Ends of Human Rights: International Law and Emancipatory Discursive Histories'.
The conference dealt with the question of the value of international human rights in light of powerful critiques challenging their authority, legitimacy and ability to produce social, political and economic justice. Dr Kumar’s talk outlined three pressing critiques – that of theory, history and politics – which haunt international human rights discourse, and affect its revolutionary potential. Other keynote speakers included Professor Martti Koskenniemi (University of Helskini) and Professor Justine Lacroix (ULB).
Dr Kumar is researching a monograph on the relationship between revolution and international law. She teaches in the areas of Global Law, Advanced Constitutional Law and Public International Law and has published in the areas of globalisation theory, postcolonial legal studies, and international labour and human rights. Her most recent work is entitled 'International Law and the Aberrant Revolution: Excavating the Judicial and Scholarly Practices of Revolutionary Legality in Rhodesia and Beyond' in The Power of Legality: Practices of International Law and Their Politics, eds Nikolas M. Rajkovic, Tanja Aalberts, Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming 2015)