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Las Casas Institute

Bartolomé de las Casas OP was a sixteenth-century entrepreneur turned opponent of genocide and advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples in the “new world”. His organising, detailed empirical research and his preaching profoundly influenced debates within colonial Spain. Drawing on his insights, Francisco de Vitoria OP and the wider Salamanca School made striking contributions to the emergence of international law.

Launching our Institute in November 2008 Professor Conor Gearty of the London School of Economics described Las Casas as the “founder” of human rights. As such he stands in a long line of Dominicans and others who have devoted their research and wider lives to the rigorous study of ethics, institutions, just governance and social justice. Dominicans today have NGO status at the United Nations. They are also at the forefront of inter-faith conversation and pastoral engagement in divided communities in South Africa, Asia, North Africa, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East.

The Las Casas Institute sets out to provide an open and influential centre for the development of rigorous scholarship, debate and new leadership in the fields of social justice and humanitarian rights. Interdisciplinary in nature, the Institute contributes to Blackfriars’ founding vision to be a centre of the social as well as the sacred sciences with particular concerns at the interface of its core interests, faith and the public sphere. Our home in one of the forty-five Permanent Private Halls and Colleges of the University of Oxford puts us at the heart of community of scholars and students with global interests and outlook.


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Bartolome de Las Casas O.P.

Bartolome de Las Casas O.P.

News & Events

13th Jun
Congratulations to Blackfriars Senior Research Fellow Prof Roger Scruton on his knighthood.

Blackfriars Senior Research fellow Prof Roger Scruton has been created a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II in the Birthday Honours list published...

6th Jun
Special Lecture: Shakespeare around the world: the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet between East and West

Dr Yvette Khoury, development support assistant and Shakespeare scholar, will give a lecture at 5.30pm on Tuesday 14th June in the Aula at...

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