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Decolonization, Self-Determination, and the Rise of Global Human Rights Politics

$120.00 (C)

Part of Human Rights in History

Roland Burke, Marco Duranti, A. Dirk Moses, Bonny Ibhawoh, Jennifer Johnson, Miranda Johnson, Mary Ann Heiss, Cindy Ewing, Raphaëlle Khan, Steven L. B. Jensen, Michael Humphrey, Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo, José Pedro Monteiro, Jay Winter, Barbara Keys, Eleanor Davey, Jessica Whyte
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  • Date Published: July 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108479356

$ 120.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This volume presents the first global history of human rights politics in the age of decolonization. The conflict between independence movements and colonial powers shaped the global human rights order that emerged after the Second World War. It was also critical to the genesis of contemporary human rights organizations and humanitarian movements. Anti-colonial forces mobilized human rights and other rights language in their campaigns for self-determination. In response, European empires harnessed the new international politics of human rights for their own ends, claiming that their rule, with its promise of 'development,' was the authentic vehicle for realizing them. Ranging from the postwar partitions and the wars of independence to Indigenous rights activism and post-colonial memory, this volume offers new insights into the history and legacies of human rights, self-determination, and empire to the present day.

    • Challenges orthodox historical narratives to provide a deeper, and multi-polar, examination of the origins and use of human rights across numerous sites of struggle
    • Features a variety of case studies, spanning much of the globe, each investigating human rights claims as reality, not abstraction
    • Provides an insight into what constituted 'human rights' for particular peoples, places, and circumstances to allow for a greater appreciation of the diversity of causes, struggles, and movements which embraced human rights
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Tracing the global debate over human rights from a world dominated by empires to that made up of nation states, this strikingly original collection of essays reveals a rich and unexpectedly innovative history.' Faisal Devji, University of Oxford

    ‘This compelling collection of original essays highlights the transmutation of human rights languages and emancipatory policies as practiced by anti-colonial activists, defenders of new nations, and promoters of colonial and neoliberal policies through the second half of the twentieth century. The book's geographic and thematic focus overcomes a persistent Western bias in the literature and is a must read for our conflicted geopolitical age.' Jean H. Quataert, Distinguished Professor of History, Binghamton University

    ‘This field-defining collection represents a breakthrough in the historiography of human rights, focused firmly on the human rights visions and experiences of the decolonizing world. The authors demonstrate that the emergence of global human rights after 1945 was inextricably entwined with the efforts of anticolonial movements and thinkers to imagine new states and citizens, as well as the determination of the colonial powers to contain them.' Brad Simpson, University of Connecticut

    ‘… scholars interested in indigenous rights, genocide, crimes against humanity, and other topics related to postcolonial history will find relevant chapters assembled and woven seamlessly together. The theoretical underpinnings of the work will benefit graduate students and scholars of Cold War history, decolonization, and human rights because the volume challenges the standard narrative of the development of human rights in the 20th century.’ H. L. Katz, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108479356
    • length: 450 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 31 mm
    • weight: 0.8kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Human rights, empire, and after Roland Burke, Marco Duranti and A. Dirk Moses
    Part I. Anti-colonial struggles and the right to self-determination:
    1. Seeking the political kingdom: universal human rights and the anti-colonial movement in Africa Bonny Ibhawoh
    2. Decolonizing the United Nations: Anti-colonialism and human rights in the French Empire Marco Duranti
    3. The French Red Cross, decolonization, and humanitarianism during the Algerian War Jennifer Johnson
    4. Connecting indigenous rights to human rights in the Anglo settler states: Another 1970s story Miranda Johnson
    5. Privileging the Cold War over decolonization: The US emphasis on political rights Mary Ann Heiss
    Part II. Post-colonial statehood and global human rights norms:
    6. Cutting out the ulcer and washing away the incubus of the past: genocide prevention through population transfer A. Dirk Moses
    7. Codifying minority rights: postcolonial constitutionalism in Burma, Ceylon, and India Cindy Ewing
    8. Between ambitions and caution: India, human rights, and self-determination at the United Nations Raphaëlle Khan
    9. 'From this era of passionate self-discovery': Norman Manley, human rights, and the end of colonial rule in Jamaica Steven L. B. Jensen
    10. Re-entering histories of past imperial violence: Kenya, Indonesia, and the reach of transitional justice Michael Humphrey
    Part III. Colonial and neo-colonial responses
    11. The inventors of human rights in Africa: Portugal, late colonialism, and the UN human rights regime Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo and José Pedro Monteiro
    12. 'A world made safe for diversity': Apartheid and the language of human rights, progress, and pluralism Roland Burke
    13. Between humanitarian rights and human rights: René Cassin, architect of universality, diplomat of French Empire Jay Winter
    14. The end of the Vietnam War and the rise of human rights Barbara Keys
    15. Decolonizing the Geneva Conventions: national liberation and the development of humanitarian law Eleanor Davey
    16. Liberté sans frontières, French humanitarianism, and the neoliberal critique of Third Worldism Jessica Whyte.

  • Editors

    A. Dirk Moses, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    A. Dirk Moses is Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney. He is Senior Editor of the Journal of Genocide Research.

    Marco Duranti, University of Sydney
    Marco Duranti is Senior Lecturer in Modern European and International History at the University of Sydney. He is the author of The Conservative Human Rights Revolution (2017).

    Roland Burke, La Trobe University, Victoria
    Roland Burke is Senior Lecturer in World History at La Trobe University. He is the author of Decolonization and the Evolution of International Human Rights (2010).


    Roland Burke, Marco Duranti, A. Dirk Moses, Bonny Ibhawoh, Jennifer Johnson, Miranda Johnson, Mary Ann Heiss, Cindy Ewing, Raphaëlle Khan, Steven L. B. Jensen, Michael Humphrey, Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo, José Pedro Monteiro, Jay Winter, Barbara Keys, Eleanor Davey, Jessica Whyte

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