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The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen

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This widely acclaimed and highly regarded book, embraced by students, scholars, policymakers, and activists, now appears in a new edition. Using the theme of visions seen by those who dreamed of what might be, Lauren explores the dramatic transformation of a world patterned by centuries of traditional structures of authority, gender abuse, racial prejudice, class divisions This widely acclaimed and highly regarded book, embraced by students, scholars, policymakers, and activists, now appears in a new edition. Using the theme of visions seen by those who dreamed of what might be, Lauren explores the dramatic transformation of a world patterned by centuries of traditional structures of authority, gender abuse, racial prejudice, class divisions and slavery, colonial empires, and claims of national sovereignty into a global community that now boldly proclaims that the way governments treat their own people is a matter of international concern--and sets the goal of human rights for all peoples and all nations. Lauren makes clear the truly universal nature of this movement by drawing into his discussion people and cultures in every part of the globe. In this regard, the book offers particularly remarkable revelations and insights when analyzing the impact of wars and revolutions, non-Western nations, struggles against sexism and racism, liberation movements and decolonization, nongovernmental organizations, and the courage and determination of countless numbers of common men and women who have contributed to the evolution of international human rights. This new edition incorporates the most recent developments of the International Criminal Court, the arrest of Augusto Pinochet and the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, technology and the Internet, the impact of NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, globalization, terrorism, and the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.


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This widely acclaimed and highly regarded book, embraced by students, scholars, policymakers, and activists, now appears in a new edition. Using the theme of visions seen by those who dreamed of what might be, Lauren explores the dramatic transformation of a world patterned by centuries of traditional structures of authority, gender abuse, racial prejudice, class divisions This widely acclaimed and highly regarded book, embraced by students, scholars, policymakers, and activists, now appears in a new edition. Using the theme of visions seen by those who dreamed of what might be, Lauren explores the dramatic transformation of a world patterned by centuries of traditional structures of authority, gender abuse, racial prejudice, class divisions and slavery, colonial empires, and claims of national sovereignty into a global community that now boldly proclaims that the way governments treat their own people is a matter of international concern--and sets the goal of human rights for all peoples and all nations. Lauren makes clear the truly universal nature of this movement by drawing into his discussion people and cultures in every part of the globe. In this regard, the book offers particularly remarkable revelations and insights when analyzing the impact of wars and revolutions, non-Western nations, struggles against sexism and racism, liberation movements and decolonization, nongovernmental organizations, and the courage and determination of countless numbers of common men and women who have contributed to the evolution of international human rights. This new edition incorporates the most recent developments of the International Criminal Court, the arrest of Augusto Pinochet and the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, technology and the Internet, the impact of NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, globalization, terrorism, and the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

30 review for The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Stieb

    It's tough for me to fully evaluate this book now because I'm at the beginning of a long reading list about human rights. My view of the book might change significantly in a few months. Overall, though, this is a thorough and solid narrative of human rights history with a few flaws, none of which are fatal. Lauren has a few main arguments in this book. One is that human rights traditions can be found in all major civilizations. He digs up a lot of religious and philosophical material to support t It's tough for me to fully evaluate this book now because I'm at the beginning of a long reading list about human rights. My view of the book might change significantly in a few months. Overall, though, this is a thorough and solid narrative of human rights history with a few flaws, none of which are fatal. Lauren has a few main arguments in this book. One is that human rights traditions can be found in all major civilizations. He digs up a lot of religious and philosophical material to support this idea. Still, he is clear that the norm of human history has been pretty ugly: racism, sexism, genocide, stark inequality, slavery, violence against children, suppression of individual rights, a lack of legal rights, endemic violence, and warfare. Score another one for Stephen Pinker, btw. For most of history, people have had little recourse to challenge this brutal norm. Lauren argues that the revolutionary impact of the international human rights movement has been to challenge and to a lesser degree change this long-standing reality. Although he doesn't do a great job saying when this movement began, its advent sometime after the Enlightenment ultimately changed the norm about how most people in the world view each other and expect to be treated. The rise of this movement also started to chip away at the nation-state's (the villains in this story) claim to sovereignty and non-interference from international bodies, although this tension certainly persists to the present day. I think he supports all these claims pretty well. Lauren's argument has a complex relationship to different cultures and the universality of human rights. On one hand, he shows that most cultures have traditions that gel to a certain extent with human rights ideologies as expressed in the UDHR. He also shows that the push for human rights reform and legislation has often come from "the bottom up," or from non-superpower states and activists who needed human rights and believed that they would guarantee their security among the elephants of geopolitics (among other reasons). However, it's pretty clear that most the major ideas of human rights (the focus on the individual, the general secularism, the gender equality aspects, the legal rights and civil liberties emphasis, etc) emerged from Western philosophy and from the leadership of Western actors (including Latin America in this formula). He cites examples of East Asian, African, and Middle Eastern activists who were part of the movement, but most of these people were the exception rather than the norm in their societies, many of which clearly still do not endorse many of the principles of the UDHR. Thus the questions of the universality of human rights and whether or not they are the best moral and legal system for protecting human beings remains glossed over in this book. Are we in Huntington's Clash of Civilizations? Should we acquiesce to cultural relativism? Is the victory of liberalism inevitable, per Fukuyama? Instead of focusing so much on the dozens of committees, revisions, drafts, and activists of human rights in the 20th century (by far the most boring parts of the book), I would have loved to see Lauren wrestle with these problems more directly rather than simply and weakly asserting a global consensus on these ideas. That absence, as well as the sheer density of the book, are the main weaknesses. I wouldn't recommend it to non-scholars simply because it is so unwieldy, but it's a solid and ambitious summary for scholars who are willing to put in the time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nurkholis

    Jika ingin mengenali human rights dari filosofi, sejarah, dan "ayat-ayat" human rights, buku ini bisa menjadi rujukan yang tepat. Jika ingin mengenali human rights dari filosofi, sejarah, dan "ayat-ayat" human rights, buku ini bisa menjadi rujukan yang tepat.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Allen

    I was a TA for Dr. Lauren and he is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people I have ever met.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Excellent research reference guide. Very interesting. Current.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jairo Isaac

  7. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  8. 5 out of 5

    Colin

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

  10. 4 out of 5

    AnnaLee Zenkner

  11. 5 out of 5

    M.M.

  12. 4 out of 5

    April Diaz

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  14. 4 out of 5

    Felita

  15. 5 out of 5

    Salube

    its a master piece of the history of Human Rights

  16. 4 out of 5

    James Wilson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Deidre

  18. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Davis

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Diaz

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patia

  24. 5 out of 5

    William Sherman

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brad

  26. 5 out of 5

    Will

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  28. 4 out of 5

    M

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  30. 5 out of 5

    DoctorM

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