2nd Edition

Human Rights in World History

By Peter N. Stearns Copyright 2023
    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book takes a global historical perspective to trace the rise of human rights and their global impact from the 18th century to the present.

    This fully updated volume examines the complex relationships between Western concepts of human rights and developments in other world regions. After providing background on relevant premodern concepts and constraints, the book explores regional interactions with human rights, the disastrous impact of imperialism and racism, the recurrent expansion of the range of rights given to those including women and children, and indigenous rights from the 19th century to the present. Major revisions for the second edition include:

    • a new chapter focusing on recent historical and interdisciplinary debates

    • a separate chapter on developments between the world wars

    • greater attention to causation and an expanded treatment of some regions, including Africa

    • an analysis of the mix of setbacks and rights expansion during the past 15 years, within the global framework.

    Human Rights in World History is essential reading for students, scholars, and researchers interested in modern history, human rights, and political science.

    1. Human rights and the contemporary world 2. Challenges in framing human rights history 3. Regional traditions before human rights 4. The push for new rights 5. Human rights on a world stage: a troubled 19th century 6. Human rights between the world wars 7. The global expansion of human rights: surges of growth since 1945 8. Resistance and response: more globalization, or less 9. Conclusion: revisiting major issues


    Peter N. Stearns is University Professor of History at George Mason University. He regularly teaches courses both in world history and in the history of peace, dealing with human rights as a major topic. He has published widely in world history and the history of emotions, with several books in the Themes series.