This original and important book examines the paradoxical yet fundamental relationship between revolutions and the discourse of human rights as it has developed over the last four centuries. In a multidisciplinary collection of essays, activists and scholars compare times and places as remote from each other as seventeenth-century England and contemporary Kosovo, bringing to bear ideas and methodologies associated with disciplines ranging from cultural history to political philosophy. In doing so, they seek to shed light on a crucial conundrum: on the one hand, revolutionary regimes often have been responsible for horrific human rights abuses, and yet on the other, revolutionary struggles often serve as a crucible to elevate appreciation for the importance of human rights. This work will be invaluable for anyone seeking a nuanced understanding of what it means to be human and those rights to which we should be able to lay claim as a result.
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Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is associate professor of history at Indiana University. Lynn Hunt is Eugen Weber Professor of French History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Marilyn B. Young is professor of history at New York University.Review:
This is an exemplary collection of essays by a wonderfully diverse (both in their disciplines and their opinions) group of scholars and intellectuals. They demonstrate, above all, that strenuous historical analysis can light up the contemporary political world. (Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University)
The rise to prominence of human rights discourse carries much promise, as well as grave threats, in the context of structures of power and dominance. These searching, thoughtful, and highly informative essays inquire into the nature and origin of human rights from varied perspectives, unravelling intricate and often conflicting strands of history, practice, and doctrine. The collection is an impressive contribution to understanding, and should be a valuable guide to constructive action as well. (Noam Chomsky)
This is an excellent collection on an important topic. The contributions cover an admirably diverse set of times and places. (Kenneth Pomeranz, University of California Irvine American Historical Review)
Altogether, we have here an exemplary set of thoughtful, erudite, and often provocative essays that provide readers with a rich and profound understanding of immensely important and complex issues... (Contemporary Sociology)
The book succeeds in its endevour. It is a noteworthy contribution to our understanding of the complexities involved in the human rights discourse. (International Relations)
With human rights now at the top of the international agenda, we must consider whether the concept is universal or bound by history and culture with different meanings around the world. This elegant, wide-ranging collection of essays thoughtfully explores the origins, evolution, and contemporary significance of human rights and provides a much-needed, deeply analytical guide to understanding how to interpret today's debates. Everyone who cares should read it; everyone will learn something new. (Daniel Chirot, University of Washington)
There are some astute insights in this volume. (American Journal of Islamic Social Studies)
This is a fine collection of thirteen essays on human rights, each of which can stand on its own, and each author displays impeccable credentials. Together, they have much to offer. (Journal of World History)
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Book Description Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110847687376
Book Description Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0847687376 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1395089