An International and Collaborative Research Programme

Seminar Session: April 25, 2022: Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat

“Human Rights and Democracy in Class and Identity Politics”

April 25, 2022. 16h00-18h00 (Berlin Time). Registration:

Abstract: Liberal democracies are continuously challenged and increasingly in danger. Instability of democracy has been typically associated with developing countries, since many democratic systems established in the 1950s and 1960s in newly independent states gave way to military coups and other authoritarian take overs. The 1990s’ euphoria about Eastern Bloc countries’ transition to democracy progressively turned into disappointments. Now, we see democratic principles and institutions are threatened even in “established democracies.” This talk examines the decline of democracies in the Cold War and post-Cold War periods, which can be considered as dominated by class and identity politics, respectively. Noting the close relationship between human rights and democracy, it presents a human rights theory of democracy that explains the decline of democracy by the gap between different types of human rights. On the deterioration or stagnation of social and economic rights, it draws attention to the problems with classical and neoliberal economics.

Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat is Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. She studies human rights, with an emphasis on women’s rights, as well as processes of democratization, globalization, and development. Her publications include numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as books: Democracy and Human Rights in Developing Countries (1991); Deconstructing Images of ‘The Turkish Woman’ (1998); Non-State Actors in the Human Rights Universe (Co-ed, 2006); Human Rights Worldwide (2006); Human Rights in Turkey (2007); The Uses and Misuses of Human Rights (Co-ed with George Andreopoulos, 2014). In addition to participating in professional organizations in various capacities (e.g., Founding President, Human Rights Section of APSA), she has served on the editorial boards of several journals. She is also the editor of the book series “Power and Human Rights” by the Lynne Rienner Publishers. She is recognized by several awards, including the APSA Award of Distinguished Scholar in Human Rights (2010), SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities (2006), and the title of Juanita and Joseph Leff Distinguished Professor (Purchase College, 2006). She has been engaged in human rights activism, as well, and is a founding member of the Women’s Platform for Equality (EŞİK) in Turkey.

Next session: May 30, 2022: Mohamed Gamal-Eldin, “Water, Land and Early Nationalism: Protest and Popular Resistance in the Suez Canal Cities, 1859-1919

Full 2020-2021-2022 programme of the HISDEMAB seminar

Cite this blog post
Nora Lafi (2022, April 14). Seminar Session: April 25, 2022: Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat. The Historicity of Democracy. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from

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