The success of former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean that earned their independence in the 1950s and ’60s in reaching stated goals on matters of civil liberties, economic justice and educational and social access for the masses will be examined in the second installment of Lawrence University’s four-part international studies lecture series “Democracy, Development and Human Rights.”
John McCartney, associate professor of government and law at Lafayette College, presents “The Struggle for Human Rights in Africa and the Caribbean,” Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.
A scholar of African politics, Latin America and the Caribbean, McCartney will discuss the United Nations’ 1948 “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” which recognized the importance of civil and political rights, as well as the “economic, social and cultural rights for the dignity and free development of the personality of the individual.” Using selected case studies, McCartney will illustrate the successes and failures of several decolonized African and Caribbean nations that have attempted to live up to the U.N. guidelines as newly independent states.
In addition, McCartney will speculate on the future of human rights in Africa and the Caribbean and address the question of whether human rights are synonymous with Western democratic rights.
Before joining the Lafayette faculty in 1986, McCartney spent six years as the president of the Vanguard Party, a social democratic political party in the Bahamas. He began his academic career as a member of the political science department at Purdue University. He is the author of the book, “Black Power Ideologies” and co-wrote the book “The Struggle for Freedom in the Bahamas.” McCartney earned his doctorate in political theory at the University of Iowa.
The “Democracy, Development and Human Rights” lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of Lawrence’s long time professor of government, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.