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On the Coloniality of Human Rights

Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais. 2017;114:117-136 DOI 10.4000/rccs.6793


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais

ISSN: 0254-1106 (Print); 2182-7435 (Online)

Publisher: Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences: Social sciences (General)

Country of publisher: Portugal

Language of fulltext: Spanish, English, Portuguese

Full-text formats available: PDF



Nelson Maldonado-Torres


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The universality of human rights is delimited by what is considered to effectively constitute the state of being human in the first place. In addition to a secular-line that separated the divine from the human, the hegemonic modern Western concept of the human emerged in relation to an onto-Manichean colonial line that often makes human rights discourse inefficient for addressing modern colonialism, or complicit with it. For any decolonization of human rights to occur, there needs to be a decolonization of the concept of the human. Frantz Fanon’s prayer to his body in Black Skin, White Masks offers a basis for building a decolonial humanism and humanities that counter the coloniality of human rights and serve as propaedeutics for any effort to make human rights relevant for decolonization.