restricted access Referring to the Human in Contemporary Human Rights Literature

In the wake of late-twentieth-century critiques of humanism in general and of human rights in particular, what basis remains for robust claims on behalf of the rights of humans? Through readings of work by Ishmael Bead, Dave Eggers, Helon Habila, and Chris Abani, this article suggests that a new generation of twenty-first-century authors have learned the lessons of those critiques but nevertheless refuse to abandon the human rights project altogether. Instead, each of these authors develops unique models of reference that struggle to overcome the impasse between universality and particularity that has historically plagued debates about human rights.