Prof. Meredith Terretta Is the New Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights

Meredith Terretta

Prof. Terretta takes up a five-years term as the Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights (2016-2020). Housed at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC), the Gordon Henderson Chair was created in 1991 in honor of Mr. Gordon Henderson, a long-term supporter and adviser of the Centre and former President of the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa.

Meredith Terretta is associate professor of history at the University of Ottawa where she teaches courses and directs student research in African, legal, and human rights history. She returns to the University of Ottawa to take up the Gordon F. Henderson Chair of Human Rights after a membership at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, USA (2015-2016). She is currently working on a SSHRC-funded research project (2016-2020) entitled Activism Along the Global Fringe: Rogue Lawyers, International Law and African Rights Claims in the Twentieth Century, which leverages historical data to show how Africans, in connection with activists and lawyers in Europe, the United Kingdom and North America, advanced legal arguments against colonialism in the mid-twentieth century.

Professor Terretta’s work examines transregional legal and rights activism, both past and contemporary. Her recent book, Nation of Outlaws, State of Violence: Nationalism, Grassfields Tradition, and State-Building in Cameroon(Ohio 2014) probes the tensions between human rights and revolutionary liberation movements through the lens of the decolonization of the British and French Cameroons under United Nations trusteeship. She recently co-edited African Asylum at a Crossroads: Activism, Expert Testimony, and Refugee Rights (Ohio 2015), a collection of essays focused on asylum jurisprudence involving African refugees. Her essays appear in the Human Rights Quarterly, the Journal of World History, the Journal of African HistoryMatériaux pour l’histoire de notre temps, and Politique africaine, among others.

Professor Terretta is a legal consultant on the contemporary political, social and cultural climate in Central Africa. She has served as an expert witness for numerous asylum claims of Africans in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

As a candidate for the Gordon F. Henderson Chair Professor Terretta gave a talk titled “Activism in the Shadows of Universalism: Where is Human Rights, Then and Now?” on March 4, 2016. She will also offer an online course through HRREC in the winter term 2017 entitled: Human Rights in the Age of the Universal Declaration (DCC3111 / HIS3397B).

HRREC is delighted to welcome Meredith Terretta as a member, lead researcher and colleague and looks forward to supporting her work and sharing the results of her research within and beyond academia.

For more information, read her profile.

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