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Are there unique aspects to human rights scholarship in the United States or does the body of work only manifest the participation of US scholars in a global epistemic community of human rights advocates? What contributions have US authors made to the development of human rights law, its norms and standards, implementation and enforcement?
The contributions selected for inclusion in American Classics in International Law: International Protection of Human Rights, edited by Dinah Shelton, reveals themes, approaches, and analyses that have advanced human rights in ways that reflect specificities of US culture, politics and legal education. The selections also reflect a pragmatic approach, seeing human rights as needing protection in the national interest because failure to ensure them would threaten peace and US security. This volume invokes themes such as the interaction of humanitarian and self-interested motives for advancing specific human rights or human rights in general, the intertwining of academic and popular writings, and examines legal advocacy and practice and the interdisciplinary focus of US scholarship.