Journal Article — The Unbordered Borders — by Winston Langley

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This is a keynote speech offered by the then Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Winston Langley at the Third Social Theory Forum held at UMass Boston in 2006.

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Abstract

Many have taken on the task of purportedly advancing the cause of human rights by abstractly reciting them and clamoring for their implementation. Some speak about one’s right to free speech and democracy, for example, with a convenient forgetting of the right to education, which can promote the type of dialogical encounter that is sponsoring of liberatory, integrative construction and reconstruction of self and human societies. Others champion the right to freedom, but not the right to food, careless of the fact that the hungry are un-free, left as they are to the crushing dictates of their bellies; and still others, while claiming to be leaders in the cause of human rights, have consistently engaged in conduct that is subversive of the very dignity that the recognition of those rights is supposed to advance and protect.

The worse violation of those rights, however, has not been any specific item of conduct, but the general disregard for their moral inclusiveness or, as some might prefer to phase it, the transcending of the moral exclusions that the human rights order (and the character and bearing of their poetics) was intended to ensure. That order says that the world is a single moral community or cosmopolis. In this community, the individual (not the state) is the basic unit, and the community of human beings is morally prior to the association of states. The human rights order goes further. It says that we, as individuals, are also borderlands, the sites of displacements, architectures, diasporas, geographies of memories and identities, and of creation and recreation. We are the unbordered borderlands who, to be truly human, must continuously interrogate the persons we are, the roles we serve, and the institutions we create.

Recommended Citation

Langley, Winston. 2006. “The Unbordered Borders.” Pp. 1-4 in Re-Membering Anzaldúa: Human Rights, Borderlands, and the Poetics of Applied Social Theory: Engaging with Gloria Anzaldua in Self and Global Transformations (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume IV, Special Issue, 2006.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

The various editions of Re-Membering Anzaldúa: Human Rights, Borderlands, and the Poetics of Applied Social Theory: Engaging with Gloria Anzaldua in Self and Global Transformations can be ordered from the Okcir Store and are also available for ordering from all major online bookstores worldwide (such as Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and others).


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