Human Rights Internet and the Case of Nicaragua

–Matt Jones is a PhD candidate in the English department at the University  of Connecticut. His work focuses on post-Enlightenment discourse in 18th- and 19th-century British literature. He has contributed to the processing and description of the Laurie S. Wiseberg and Harry Scoble Human Rights Internet and contributes research commentary on the collection to the Human Rights Archives Blog.

Box 107, Fld 2

Box 107, Fld 2

In a 1989 issue of Nicaraguan Perspectives Noam Chomsky discusses the extent of events that, for one reason or another, go unreported by the US media. Asserting that the media are in fact “corporations” themselves, he explains that “this and many other factors influence [the media] to produce a picture of the world that reflects the interests of owners, advertisers, and the privileged elements that occupy managerial positions.” To those aware of the greater American involvement in South America – and elsewhere – this claim would not have constituted a particularly eye-opening revelation. It, presumably, would be even less momentous in our post-Wikileaks society. Of course, what made Chomsky’s piece in Nicaraguan Perspectives informative were the insights of these events that he described, as these were inaccessible to a public reliant upon the Times and the Post for its news. Though Chomsky and many others continue to expose and disseminate information unacknowledged by major American media outlets, there is much more to excavate beyond what can be included in a single essay, or chapter, or op-ed. Continue reading

Solidarity Forever

May Day 2013, the recent collapse of a garment factory on top of hundreds of workers in Bangladesh just five days ago is yet another grievance charged against the global game of capitalism.  The inequalities exacerbated by globalization in Bangladesh have roots in the same issues facing workers the world over since the formation of wage labor:  the right to a living wage, the right to collective bargaining, an equal wage and the right to a safe working environment.  These grievances have been outsourced to the third world for commodity production which we see as goods in the US marketplace; however, the agriculture industry, for which 51% of US land is dedicated, relies on cheap labor power to harvest.


A recent acquisition to the Human Rights Collection are the records of UConn’s Migrant Worker Health Clinic.  At the University of Connecticut Health Center, the office of the Migrant Worker’s Health Clinic runs a mobile clinic at agricultural farms throughout the state, providing health, dental and eye care through volunteer physicians and students to seasonal migrant laborers.  Workers from Latin America and the Caribbean come to Connecticut to work on Tobacco and fruit farms without health coverage and other labor rights afforded to US citizens.  With immigration being a continually vibrant topic of discussion (as well as the shaper of the country we know today) this collection provides a very real context of local immigration issues surrounding the precarious labor relationship with foreign workers.  This collection is an ongoing acquisition which portrays the quantitative data on the labor pool itself as well as the outreach and resources provided on behalf of the clinic.

In addition, Robin Romano’s photograph collection and personal papers from his work on child labor in the third world provide an important visual representation of what unrestricted market demand looks like.

For more information, please contact the curator to schedule an appointment to view these materials.

Slingshot Collective

Slingshot Collective

A recent acquisition to the Archives’ Alternative Press Collection is Slingshot, a radical journal published by the Slingshot Collective out of Berkeley, CA.  We have early back issues from 1988 up to the current issue.  In addition, we also carry samplings of the popular Slingshot Organizers which are artistically, historically and resourcefully compiled booklets that function as the primary fund raiser for the collective.        

In addition, the collective published a book edited by Terri Compost in 2009 about the People’s Park in Berkeley which was a site of contention beginning in the late 1960s between the University of California and the community invested in making the space public.  It currently exists as a semi-free space for gardening, theater, play and all things other than volleyball.    

These materials and other collective publishing ventures can be accessed in the Alternative Press Collection at the Archives & Special Collections, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut.

Alternative Press Collection LibGuide Links

The inherently decentralized and accessible nature of the internet has provided activists and underground press the ability to make their voices heard, requiring nothing more than a computer and a connection.  Admittedly a little over naive, the potential for the Internet as an organizational structure has new channels for empowerment.  As an academic research institution such as ours at UConn, we face challenges in attempting to document the digital documentarians. While we have one of the largest Alternative Press Collections in the country, our ability to capture tweets, status updates and blog rolls is limited. One important distinction to make regarding digital representation versus physical is the utter impermanence of these sources, particularly in an un(der)funded enterprise as many activist groups and presses are. Arguably, the physical print is also impermanent but the comparative longevity of print to a blogger site is quite drastic. The philosophical archival dimensions of thinking about these kinds of challenges remains rooted in the theory foundations which have transcended evolutions in media. A temporary remedy to this current problem in documenting underground press is to provide links to the digital representations of prominent sources and accessible organizations with a broad base.

I have updated the Library Guide on Introducing the Alternative Press Collection, by including a tab of Radical Internet Sources. This list is as imperfect as any sampling of the internet can be, however it will be continually updated and perpetually becoming.  For an insightful view of the web’s virtual empowerment, see Lewis Call’s Postmodern Anarchism (Boston; Lexington Books, 2002).

CIRI Human Rights Data Project

The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Data project is now hosted at UConn!  The project, beginning in 2004 at SUNY at Binghampton, was created as a collaborative project with UConn and the University of Georgia to provide measureable datasets on 15 human rights in 195 different countries.  Dr. David Richards of the Human Rights Institute at UConn has worked extensively on the project since 2010, and is responsible for bringing the data to the Archives & Special Collections for hosting.

This dataset has been accessed by such global entities as the World Bank who view progress through quantitative figures.  The CIRI website allows researchers to search by specific indicators and specific countries to measure the effects of rights observed.  The database can be accessed through the following URL:

eBooks on Human Rights topics

Hi all,

Besides acquiring print books, the UConn Libraries is acquiring many ebooks that can be accessed through the HOMER catalog, or from the main page by searching the “Everything @ UConn” and the “Books and Media Worldwide” tabs’ search boxes. The two major distributors where we acquire books from are eBrary and EBL. They do have different interfaces and policy regarding printing pages or how many people can “check out” a digital copy. Sometimes only one person can view an ebook, sometimes multiple users can view an ebook. Offhand I can’t tell you which ebook follows one rule or the other rule–it really depends on the publisher, who decides what type of license is granting to the distributor. So feel free to explore this products and if you have problems or question do let us know. In addition, the links bellow my require you to use your netid and password before accessing the books. Finally, I do recommend that you create an account in both EBL and Ebrary (which are free) to keep track not only of what ebooks you are reading but also to save annotations you may want to do as you are reading them.

Here is a little sample of what we have acquired this academic year. eBooks purchases were based on faculty and students suggestions. Some books do have print counterparts but other don’t. If you prefer a print copy do let us know.


Marisol Ramos
Librarian for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Latino Studies,
Spanish and Anthropology And Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Collections




Library Acquisitons for Human Rights and other news

Hello everyone,

My name is Marisol Ramos and as many of you know me, I am the librarian for Latin American, Caribbean and Latinos Studies, Spanish and Anthropology and the Curator for Latin American & Caribbean Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. While we are waiting for the new Curator for Human Rights to be hired, I was asked to continue posting news about new acquisitions and any other news related for human rights. One of the biggest news is that we have moved the old human rights blog to a new web address, make sure to update your bookmarks.

For now, I just want to reassure you that we continue acquiring library materials to support human rights and that if you have an specific need for your classes or research, feel free to contact either Betsy Pittman or I with your requests. If you need library instructions, we are more than happy to help you connect with the right librarian at Homer Babbidge who can help you and your students to navigate our many library resources (both print and electronic). If you have suggestion for archival collections that we should be pursuing for human rights, please contact Betsy Pittman.

Now here is a small sampling of our latest acquisitions for human rights. If you have suggestions for new purchases please let me know!


Marisol Ramos
Curator for Latin American and Caribbean Collections
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center’s Archives & Special Collections
  • Machan, Tibor R. (c2011). Human rights and human liberties : a radical reconsideration of the American political tradition / Tibor R. Machan. , 2nd rev. ed. Lanham, Md. : University Press of America, Inc.
  • Liebenberg, Sandra.(2010). Socio-economic rights : adjudication under a transformative constitution / Sandra Liebenberg. Claremont [South Africa] : Juta/
  • Economic policy and human rights : holding governments to account.  (2011). Edited by Radhika Balakrishnan and Diane Elson. London ; New York : Zed.
  • Van Ham, Lane Vernon. (c2011). Common humanity : ritual, religion, and immigrant advocacy in Tucson, Arizona / Lane Van Ham. Tucson : University of Arizona Press.
  • Lee, Julian C. H. (2011). Policing sexuality : sex, society, and the state. Selangor, [Malaysia] : Strategic Information and Research Development Centre ; London ; New York : Zed Books.
  • Armaline, W. T., Glasberg, D. S., & Purkayastha, B. (2011). Human rights in our own backyard: Injustice and resistance in the United States. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Manea, E. (2011). The Arab State and women’s rights: The trap of authoritarian governance. New York: Routledge.
  • Sisk, T. D. (2011). Between terror and tolerance: Religious leaders, conflict, and peacemaking. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press.
  • Benhabib, S. (2011). Dignity in adversity: Human rights in troubled times. Cambridge, U.K: Polity Press.
  • Brysk, A., & Choi-Fitzpatrick, A. (2012). From human trafficking to human rights: Reframing contemporary slavery. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Monshipouri, M. (2012). Terrorism, security, and human rights: Harnessing the rule of law. Boulder [Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  • Kelly, T. (2012). This side of silence: Human rights, torture, and the recognition of cruelty. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Sikor, T., & Stahl, J. (2011). Forests and people: Property, governance, and human rights. Abingdon, Oxon: Earthscan.
  • Trindade, A. A. C. (2011). The access of individuals to international justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bishop, C. A. (2012). Access to information as a human right. El Paso [Tex.: LFB Scholarly Pub.
  • Kamali, M. H. (2011). Citizenship and accountability of government: An Islamic perspective. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society.
  • Bergoffen, D. B. (2012). Contesting the politics of genocidal rape: Affirming the dignity of the vulnerable body. New York: Routledge.
  • Oette, L. (2011). Criminal law reform and transitional justice: Human rights perspectives for Sudan. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
  • Balakrishnan, R., & Elson, D. (2011). Economic policy and human rights: Holding governments to account. London: Zed Books.
  • McKenna, A. (2011). A human right to participate in the information society. New York: Hampton Press.
  • Sharma, P. (2011). The Human Rights Act and the assault on liberty: Rights and asylum in the UK. Nottingham, United Kingdom: Nottingham University Press.
  • Englund, H. (2011). Human rights and African airwaves: Mediating equality on the Chichewa radio. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Doswald-Beck, L., & Académie de droit international humanitaire et de droits humains a Geneve. (2011). Human rights in times of conflict and terrorism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Goodman, R., & Pegram, T. I. (2012). Human rights, state compliance, and social change: Assessing national human rights institutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Otiocha, E. E. (2011). International human rights: The protection of the rights of women and female child in Africa : theory and practice. Lake Mary, FL: Vandeplas Pub.
  • Keith, L. C. (2011). Political repression: The role of courts and law. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Witte, J., & Green, M. C. (2012). Religion and human rights: An introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Almqvist, J., & Espósito, C. D. (2012). The role of courts in transitional justice: Voices from Latin America and Spain. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Farewells and New Additions

As of June 30, I will be leaving my position as Curator for Human Rights Collections. As a result, this blog will be updated less frequently, though I am hoping that whoever replaces me will take it over.

But before I go, I wanted to mention a couple of newly available digital collections here at UConn:

For the past year, I’ve been interviewing activists about their political advocacy work on issues impacting the LGBTQ community, including second-parent adoption, civil union, marriage equality, and equal protection under the law for gender identity and expression.  These are all hugely important rights that set Connecticut apart from the vast majority of other states, which don’t allow LGBTQ citizens the same rights and protections as heterosexual citizens. Looking around the state, it didn’t seem that many libraries and archives were actively trying to document these very recent– and in some ways still ongoing– social movements.  And so, with support and encouragement from my institution, I set out to do so.

In 2010, the University of Connecticut Libraries began actively collecting documentation of activism around the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, and neighboring areas, and received donations of research files and materials from Mia Farrow, Eric Reeves, and others.  It was Ms. Farrow’s vision to create an online documentation center of these materials so access would not be limited to only those who could travel to Connecticut. Working in consultation with Ms. Farrow, and also with Dr. Bridget Conley-Zilkic at the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, the project was launched in June 2011.

The website contains information about the Sudan related archival collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn, as well as a research guide for Sudan, links to news sources, and advocacy and humanitarian organizations working in the region.  The project also includes an online gallery of digital photographs from Sudan, Chad, and the Central African Republic from various refugee and IDP camps.

According to the UNHCR, there are approximately 4.5 million internally displaced people in Sudan, and hundreds of thousands more in camps in neighboring countries.  There are just over 200 images in the collection, most of which were taken by the incredible Mia Farrow, who has devoted the past 7 years to using her voice and celebrity to raise awareness of the horrific violence in Darfur and neighboring areas, which tragically is ongoing to this day.  It has been my utter privilege to work with her this past year on the project, and I could not be more in awe of her tireless dedication to the people of Darfur.

All the best, and thanks for reading!

New Tactics in Human Rights Online Diaglog on “Monitoring Accountability for Human Rights,” May 18 to 24, 2011

New Tactics and its featured resource practitioners will hold an on-line dialogue on Front Line Watchdogs: Monitoring accountability for human rights from May 18 to 24, 2011.

Front line watchdogs come in all shapes and sizes. They can be seen in courtrooms ensuring fair trials, accompanying threatened human rights defenders, holding vigil outside police stations to prevent torture, protecting election ballot results, testing for discrimination, monitoring development aid projects, investigating toxic waste from companies, etc., etc. While government bodies and corporations are often expected to monitor and regulate themselves, self-regulation does not always successfully uphold rights. Front line watchdogs take on this important citizen role of holding communities, government and corporations accountable.

Watchdog monitoring provides an opportunity to analyze, understand and influence abusive systems of power and to engage community members in human rights work.

In this dialogue, we will explore successful front line watchdog tactics, discuss lessons learned, challenges and opportunities for practitioners to adapt these tactics for their own issues and communities.

For information on how to participate, visit:

New Source for Info on Human Rights Books

The editors of the “New Books Network” ( are seeking one or more hosts for a new channel, “New Books in Human Rights” ( The channel will feature regular podcast interviews with authors of new books on human rights, conflict resolution, genocide studies, and peace studies.

The “New Books Network” is a not-for-profit consortium of academic podcasts aimed at disseminating discipline-specific information about new books to wide audiences.