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Guest Lecture: "Toward Cosmopolitan Political Humility: Insights from B.R Ambedkar and Present-Day Dalit Activists"

Luis Cabrera, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
Friday, November 20, 2020 - 3:30pm to 5:30pm
Zoom Invitation

Please contact Jamie Mayerfeld,, for a Zoom link.

Critics of cosmopolitanism commonly assert that it is arrogant, giving too little emphasis to local moral understandings and seeking to impose parochial Western moral views on all persons. In this talk, Luis Cabrera draws on the thought of Dalit-rights champion and Indian constitutional architect B.R. Ambedkar, and the insights of UN-oriented Dalit activists, to address such claims. He will discuss ways in which the development of more robust input and challenge mechanisms for individuals beyond the state could advance aspects of "cosmopolitan political humility." It would enable broader challenges to the imposition of parochial moral views domestically and in supra-state fora. It also would challenge an essential political arrogance identified in the current system, where sovereign states are empowered to simply dismiss rights-based challenges from outsiders or their own populations – even as they serve as the designated guarantors of human rights.

Luis Cabrera is Associate Professor of Political Science at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He has published widely on cosmopolitanism and global citizenship, migration and international organizations. He employs a qualitatively oriented "grounded normative theory" method, incorporating findings from field interviews into the development of normative arguments. He has conducted field work in Mexico, the UK and European Union, Southeast Asia, South America, and in India and Turkey for his most recent monograph, The Humble Cosmopolitan: Rights, Diversity, and Trans-State Democracy (Oxford UP, 2020).  His other solo-authored books include The Practice of Global Citizenship (Cambridge UP, 2012) and Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State (Routledge, 2004).  He has edited or co-edited Institutional Cosmopolitanism (Oxford University Press, 2018); Microfinance, Rights and Global Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2015); and Global Governance, Global Government (SUNY Press, 2011).

Sponsored by the Political Science Department, Philosophy Department, Program on Ethics, and Tri-Campus UW Research Cluster on Human Interactions and Normative Innovation (HI-NORM).