Human Rights Modernities: Practices of Luo Councils of Elders in Contemporary Western Kenya


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




The postcolonial moment seem to be characterized with uncertainty over what is the most appropriate mode of progress and modernity. While numerous ideas have been used to describe this modernity (ies), the 21st century has witnessed an inexorable rise of the application of International Human Rights Law. For this reason, many contemporary observers refer to 21st Century as an ‘Era of Human Rights’. Often, several African states promote ‘era of human rights’ as one culture (culture of human rights) and multiculturalism as separate and distinct (cultures of the nation). My project reviews the historical development of human rights in Kenya and particularly about production of human rights in colonial times to contemporary western Kenya. This is an ethnography from Luo people of western Kenya, of how people visualize the rights reality as made up of living assembles that juxtapose and inter-relate different materials thus embracing notions associated with the aspects of both ‘modernities’.