Writing Human Rights History—And Social Science Encounters


  • Recent publications are on human rights and collective memory (see references). Current work addresses representations of the post-2003 violence in Darfur in eight Western countries, with special interest in country-specific effects of interventions by the International Criminal Court. Savelsberg can be reached at savel001@umn.edu.


This review essay on Aryeh Neier's The International Human Rights Movement: A History (Princeton University Press, 2012) discusses Neier's central themes: the origins and maturation of the movement and its effects, including the expansion of human rights and humanitarian law, enhanced criminal accountability for human rights crimes, and the appearance of criminal tribunals, culminating in the International Criminal Court. An overview is interspersed by imaginary conversations between Neier and scholars who speak to his themes, especially legal scholar Jenny Martinez, political scientists Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, historians Devin Pendas and Tomaz Jardim, and sociologists John Hagan, Daniel Levy, Natan Sznaider, Joachim Savelsberg, and Ryan D. King. Linking a practitioner's account with scholarly analyses yields some benefits of “Pasteur's Quadrant.”