The Human Rights Revolution: An International History

Overview


Between the Second World War and the early 1970s, political leaders, activists, citizens, protestors. and freedom fighters triggered a human rights revolution in world affairs. Stimulated particularly by the horrors of the crimes against humanity in the 1940s, the human rights revolution grew rapidly to subsume claims from minorities, women, the politically oppressed, and marginal communities across the globe. The human rights revolution began with a disarmingly simple idea: that every individual, whatever his ...
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Overview


Between the Second World War and the early 1970s, political leaders, activists, citizens, protestors. and freedom fighters triggered a human rights revolution in world affairs. Stimulated particularly by the horrors of the crimes against humanity in the 1940s, the human rights revolution grew rapidly to subsume claims from minorities, women, the politically oppressed, and marginal communities across the globe. The human rights revolution began with a disarmingly simple idea: that every individual, whatever his or her nationality, political beliefs, or ethnic and religious heritage, possesses an inviolable right to be treated with dignity. From this basic claim grew many more, and ever since, the cascading effect of these initial rights claims has dramatically shaped world history down to our own times.

The contributors to this volume look at the wave of human rights legislation emerging out of World War II, including the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Nuremberg trial, and the Geneva Conventions, and the expansion of human rights activity in the 1970s and beyond, including the anti-torture campaigns of Amnesty International, human rights politics in Indonesia and East Timor, the emergence of a human rights agenda among international scientists, and the global campaign female genital mutilation. The book concludes with a look at the UN Declaration at its 60th anniversary. Bringing together renowned senior scholars with a new generation of international historians, these essays set an ambitious agenda for the history of human rights.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One of the very best introductions to the history of human rights in the modern world for both undergraduate and graduate students. The essays, by a wide range of scholars, represent some of the best work in the field and nicely survey the range of what we think we know about human rights, a quite new field of historical study...The contributions are well edited and cohere as a volume in a manner that few collections of conference papers do. Highly recommended." --CHOICE

"The Human Rights Revolution is an excellent volume that strongly advances an emerging field of historical research. Together, the individual chapters illuminate a wide range of topics. They provide an engaged, critical perspective on the most important issue of our time." --Eric D. Weitz, University of Minnesota

"By their very nature as universal claims, human rights demand an international history. With this path-breaking and highly readable volume, that history takes a quantum leap forward." --Benjamin Nathans, University of Pennsylvania

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Akira Iriye is Charles Warren Research Professor of American History, Emeritus at Harvard University and the author of Cultural Internationalism and World Order.

Petra Goedde is Associate Professor of History at Temple University and the author of GIs and Germans: Culture, Gender, and Foreign Relations, 1945-1949.

William I. Hitchcock is Professor of History at the University of Virginia and the author of The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe.

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Table of Contents

Contributors
Introduction: Human Rights as History, by Akira Iriye and Petra Goedde
Part I: The Human Rights Revolution
1. Kenneth J. Cmiel, The Recent History of Human Rights
2. G. Daniel Cohen, The Holocaust and the "Human Rights Revolution": A Reassessment
3. Elizabeth Borgwardt, "Constitutionalizing" Human Rights: The Rise of the Nuremberg Principles
4. William I. Hitchcock: Human Rights and the Laws of War: The Geneva Conventions of 1949
5. Atina Grossmann, Grams, Calories, and Food: Languages of Victimization, Entitlement, and Human Rights in Occupied Germany 1945-1949
6. Allida Black, Are Women 'Human'? The U.N. and the Struggle to Recognize Women's Rights as Human Rights

Part II. The Globalization of Human Rights History
7. Samuel Moyn, Imperialism, Self-Determination, and the Rise of Human Rights
8. Brad Simpson, 'The First Right':The Carter Administration, Indonesia and the Transnational Human Rights Politics of the 1970s
9. Barbara Keys, Anti-Torture Politics: Amnesty International, the Greek Junta, and the Origins of the Human Rights 'Boom' in the United States
10. Carl J. Bon Tempo, From the Center-Right: Freedom House and Human Rights in the 1970s and 1980s
11. Paul Rubinson, "For Our Soviet Colleagues": Scientific Internationalism, Human Rights and the Cold War
12. Sarah B. Snyder, "Principles Overwhelming Tanks": Human Rights and the End of the Cold War
13. Kelly J. Shannon, The Right to Bodily Integrity: Women's Rights as Human Rights and the International Movement to End Female Genital Mutilation, 1970s-1990s
14. Alexis Dudden, Is History a Human Right? Japan and Korea's Troubles with the Past
15. Mark Philip Bradley, Approaching the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Index

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