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The History of Human Rights
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Micheline Ishay recounts the dramatic struggle for human rights across the ages in a book that brilliantly synthesizes historical and intellectual developments from the Mesopotamian Codes of Hammurabi to today's era of globalization. As she chronicles the clash of social movements, ideas, and armies that have played a part in this struggle, Ishay illustrates how the history of human rights has evolved from one era to the next through texts, cultural traditions, and creative expression. Writing with verve and extraordinary range, she develops a framework for understanding contemporary issues from the debate over globalization to the intervention in Kosovo to the climate for human rights after September 11, 2001. The only comprehensive history of human rights available, this book will be essential reading for anyone concerned with humankind's quest for justice and dignity. Ishay structures her chapters around six core questions that have shaped human rights debate and scholarship: What are the origins of human rights? Why did the European vision of human rights triumph over those of other civilizations? Has socialism made a lasting contribution to the legacy of human rights? Are human rights universal or culturally bound? Must human rights be sacrificed to the demands of national security? And, is globalization eroding or advancing human rights? As she explores these questions, Ishay also incorporates notable documents - writings, speeches, and political statements - from activists, writers, and thinkers throughout history.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction Definition, the Argument, and Six Historical Controversies Structure 1. Early Ethical Contributions to Human Rights Religious and Secular Notions of Universalism Liberty: The Origins of Tolerance Equality: Early Notions of Economic and Social Justice How to Promote Justice? Fraternity, or Human Rights for Whom? 2. Human Rights and the Enlightenment: The Development of a Liberal and Secular Perspective of Human Rights From Ancient Civilizations to the Rise of the West Freedom of Religion and Opinion The Right to Life The Right to Private Property The State and Just-War Theory Human Rights for Whom? 3. Human Rights and the Industrial Age: The Development of a Socialist Perspective of Human Rights The Industrial Age Challenging the Liberal Vision of Rights Universal Suffrage, Economic and other Social Rights Challenging Capitalism and the State Human Rights for Whom? 4. The World Wars: The Institutionalization of International Rights and the Right to Self-Determination The End of Empires The Right to Self-Determination Institutionalizing Human Rights Human Rights for Whom? 5. Globalization and Its Impact on Human Rights Globalization and Protest Movements Defining Rights in the Era of Globalization After September 11: Security versus Human Rights Human Rights for Whom? 6. Promoting Human Rights in the Twenty-first Century: The Changing Arena of Struggle Medievalism and the Absence of Civil Society The Emergence of Civil Society during the Enlightenment The Expansion of Civil Society in the Industrial Revolution The Anti-Colonial Struggle The Globalization of Civil Society? Or an Assault on the Private Realm? Appendix: A Chronology of Events and Writings Related to Human Rights Notes References Index

About the Author

Micheline R. Ishay is Professor and Director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Denver, author of Internationalism and Its Betrayal, and editor of The Human Rights Reader.

Reviews

"This is an important book for those who focus on human rights in history." -- Susan Longfield Karr Journal Of World History

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