A critical trend in the field of comparative literature may well be that of human rights. If the cultural turn signaled the critical response to post-1960s politics, and the 1990s were marked by the postcolonial turn, then perhaps the human rights turn best characterizes the period following the attacks of 9/11/2001. Rights became the primary critical lens to make sense of post-9/11 geopolitics for two main reasons. First, for critics in the United States, rights became a safe way to interrogate the abuses of power that immediately followed the attacks. Second, the rights turn put pressure on some of the slippery ways in which poststructuralist critique often seemed to retreat from offering concrete ways to think about how to value and defend life. Through the prism of rights one can critique the legacies of the Enlightenment, the master narratives of empire, and the self-righteousness of liberal humanism while retaining the goal of a utopian critical outcome.