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Vol 21 No 10 Oct/Nov 2016

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Revisiting the Origins of Human Rights

Edited by: Pamela Slotte, Miia Halme-Tuomisaari

ISBN13: 9781107107649
Published: September 2015
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £79.99



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Does the history of human rights begin decades, centuries or even millennia ago? What constitutes this history? And what can we really learn from 'the textbook narrative' - the unilinear, forward-looking tale of progress and inevitable triumph authored primarily by activist international law scholars?

Does such a distinguishable entity as 'the history of human rights' even exist, or are efforts to read evidence in past events of the later 'evolution' of human rights ideology and phenomenon futile?

This book explores these questions through a collective effort by history, law, theology and anthropology scholars. Rather than entities with an absolute, predefined 'essence', this book conceptualizes human rights as open-ended and ambiguous entities. It taps into recent 'revisionist' debates and asks: what do we really know of the history of human rights?

Subjects:
Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Legal History
Contents:
1. Revisiting the origins of human rights: introduction Miia Halme-Tuomisaari and Pamela Slotte

Part I. Foundations: Antiquity to the Enlightenment:
2. Human rights in antiquity? Revisiting anachronism and Roman law Jacob Giltaij and Kaius Tuori
3. Medieval natural rights discourse Virpi Makinen
4. Human rights and the Thomist tradition Annabel Brett

Part II. Pluralities of Discourses and Rights: The Enlightenment and Single-issue Causes in the Nineteenth Century:
5. Revolutionary rights Lynn Hunt
6. Giuseppe Mazzini in (and beyond) the history of human rights Samuel Moyn
7. Constituting the Imperial community: rights, common good, and authority in Britain's Atlantic empire, 1607-1815 Lauren Benton and Aaron Slater
8. Human rights discourse in women's rights conventions in the United States, 1848-70 Kathryn Kish Sklar
9. The peace movement and human rights Martin Ceadel
10. Socialism and the language of rights: the origins and implications of economic rights Gregory Claeys

Part III. Institutional Practices and Relations of Rights: Toward the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
11. Andre Mandelstam and the internationalization of human rights (1869-1949) Dzovinar Kevonian
12. From League of Nations mandates to decolonization: a brief history of rights Taina Tuori
13. 'Blessed are the peacemakers': Christian internationalism, ecumenical voices and the quest for human rights Pamela Slotte
14. Lobbying for relevance: American internationalists, French civil libertarians and the UDHR Miia Halme-Tuomisaari
15. The Cold War and the rise of an American conception of human rights, 1945-8 Olivier Barsalou
16. Afterword Conor Gearty.