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Angel Cabrera

Angel Gabriel Cabrera Silva

S.J.D. Candidate

acabrerasilva at


Democratization from Below: Human Rights, Resistance and Progressive Democracy

My project’s core objective is to introduce political philosophy and democratic theory into the arguments that have raised skepticism against the future role of human rights advocacy in promoting structural justice in Latin America (particularly since the recession of the global liberal democratization project). My dissertation attempts to foreground the different models of democratic governance that advocacy strategies can promote through international human rights law, in order to analyze the hegemonic/counter-hegemonic dynamics within the human rights movement. I aim to provide an assessment about how human rights advocates could adapt (or could already be adapting) their work to promote different democratic projects.

My working hypothesis is that human rights advocacy could be reconstrued to encompass projects that go beyond the liberal (hegemonic) democratic model typically ascribed to human rights. This could allow for the development of strategies that push for democratic models that resonate better within their societies’ political contexts and local needs. The dissertation thus strives to articulate an argument about the capacity of human rights to overcome global hegemonic tendencies and become catalyzers for localized democratic experimentalism.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Democratization and the Global South with Professor Lucie White, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Global Governance and Resistance with Professor David Kennedy, Harvard Law School
  • The Future of International Human Rights Law with Professor Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard Kennedy School

Additional Teaching and Research Interests

  • Social movements
  • Latin-American Politics
  • Critical Legal Studies
  • Drug Policy
  • Democratic Theory
  • Constitutional Law
  • Inter-American Human Rights System


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate 2017-Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2016
  • Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, Abogado, 2015

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard Law School, PSVF Kaufman Fellow 2016-2017
  • Harvard Law School, Salzburg-Cutler Fellow 2016
  • Harvard Law School, Summer Academic Fellow 2016

Additional Information

  • Languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Last Updated: October 13, 2017