International Politics of Human Rights (Prof. Dr. Katrin Kinzelbach)


The professorship for International Politics of Human Rights is dedicated to empirical human rights research.

We understand universal human rights as a social construction – as a normative claim that has been codified in international law because of political struggle. Human rights remain contested to this day. We study the actors that demand and deny human rights (social movements, non-governmental organizations, states, courts, businesses, international organizations, etc.). In particular, we examine their claims, interests, power resources, and institutional practices. We are also interested in the actors’ tactical repertoire and how it responds to changing political opportunity structures.

Another focus is the empirical assessment of human rights violations, where we are keen to make use of different methods. For example, we are working with the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg on the global collection of expert-coded data. Most recently, the team is experimenting with remote sensing data and user-generated content from social media.

Prof. Dr. Katrin Kinzelbach holds the professorship since 1 September 2019. She and her team are currently working on a series of grant-supported projects.