An opening statement written for a mock trial class.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, today you will be asked to determine the culpability of several people related to the incident that caused the death of Bruno Summers. This is a case about one man who unfortunately lost his life, and another who acted to protect himself. The plaintiff has claimed to suffer enormous financial loss, but is uncertain of who to pin the blame on. This is why you see seven different defendants here today. Seven. During this whole proceeding, I ask you to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, that the deceased, Bruno Summers, repeatedly made attempts to confront Edward Hard. You will hear that he did not avoid Ed, even when he knew it could spell trouble. Edward cared, and still cares, extremely deeply for his former girlfriend, Deborah. …


This is a draft of an abstract for Research in Human Rights.

Reports by the Human Rights Watch, widely considered a credible source on issues of human rights, often urge countries to correct their own rights violations. However, a more recent report calls for a preemptive ban on “killer robots,” or lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). The text “No country is safe” accompanies an animation of the White House being bombarded by drones. The website depicts an image of a child holding a teddy bear as the sky turns red and drones fly towards him. It says, “As machines, they would lack the inherently human characteristics such as compassion that are necessary to make complex ethical choices.” This paper begins with an interrogation of this belief: that violence greenlit by humans is permissible, but violence lacking human control is amoral. This view assumes a neutral and autonomous liberal subject, but underlying that presumption is a racialized and gendered history of technoliberalism, defining some humans as moral in opposition to the amoral or apathetic other. Furthermore, we explore distinctions between “humane” and “inhumane” violence that mark some killings as permissible. Given the historical nature of “humanity” as something that can be given or taken away, the implications of the call to ban lethal autonomous weapons systems reify what authors Neda Atanasoski and Kalinda Vora call the “surrogate humanity” effect — wherein the nature of human rights as based in empathy is a racialized project that reduces certain bodies to the status of object in the process of trying to establish humanity for those same groups. Human rights are understood to be derived from the shared experience of “human-ness,” rather than legal instruments (which simply enforce these protections) or external forces. This paper questions the objectivity of kinship-based morality, or empathy, for non-humans, automated intelligences, and human others. Other explanations for the foundations of human rights lie in what I will term “empathy producing media.” Lynn Hunt, in her book “Inventing Human Rights,” credits the proliferation of the novel with significant progress in human rights, as readers utilized their capacity for empathy to relate to characters, both fictional and non-fictional. …


“[S]olar panels, furniture, shrimp, steel pipe, tires and washing machines” (Swanson) — these are only a few of many products that America placed high anti-dumping duties on, under suspicion that China was flooding the American market with underpriced goods. The World Trade Organization defines dumping as, “in general, a situation of international price discrimination, where the price of a product when sold in the importing country is less than the price of that product in the market of the exporting country.” However, it further explains that simply comparing the price of goods in the exporting country and importing country for any difference is rarely sufficient to determine if there is a case of dumping. …

About

Carolyn Zou

Student @ Boston University; Interests include semiotics, international law, and video games.