The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents From Ancient Times to the Present, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Human Rights Reader

Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents From Ancient Times to the Present, 2nd Edition

By Micheline R. Ishay


592 pages

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Paperback: 9780415951609
pub: 2007-04-20
Hardback: 9780415951593
pub: 2007-04-26

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The second edition of The Human Rights Reader presents a dramatically revised organization and updated selections, including pieces on globalization and the war on terrorism. Each part of the Reader corresponds to five historical phases in the history of human rights and explores for each the arguments, debates, and issues of inclusiveness central to those eras. This edition is the most comprehensive and up-to-date collection of essays, speeches, and documents from historical and contemporary sources, all of which are now placed in context with Micheline Ishay’s substantial introduction to the reader as a whole and valuable introductions to each part and chapter.


'A wonderfully edited collection that deepens our understanding of why human rights should be deeply inscribed in our moral and political imagination.' - Richard A. Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus, Princeton University; Visiting Professor, Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

'In tracing the complex intellectual history of human rights, Micheline Ishay’s insightful and provocative selection of texts illuminates many of today’s most fundamental rights debates. Are human rights Western impositions or universal values? Does globalization advance or undermine them? Do they originate in or constrain religion? Are they the product of socialism or among its victims? Did the anti-colonial movement respond to repression or simply shift its source? None of these questions admits simple answers, but no one should address them without considering the deep and varied perspectives provided in Ishay’s new Human Rights Reader.' - Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

'Micheline Ishay's excellent collection provides all the material that anyone needs to participate in the critical debates about human rights. Differing views of cultural diversity, economic justice, national self-determination, and humanitarian intervention are fairly and intelligently represented.' - Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ

'Following her masterly History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Era of Globalization, Micheline Ishay now presents us with an extraordinarily rich, original, and illuminating compilation of sources on the history and philosophy of human rights. Insightful introductions to each part provide the appropriate historical context. A ‘must’ for courses on human rights.' - David Kretzmer, Professor of International Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster, UK

'The Human Rights Reader is a necessary companion to any human rights course that seeks to identify the historical and theoretical roots of the modern human rights struggle. It is a crucial contribution that lends support to the universalist claim that the struggle for human rights is not time/space specific, but rather one that, like human existance, transcends time and space and is part of a larger movement to protect and ensure the emancipation of all. For a student or instructor interested in widening the scope of the human rights debate, outside the pages of mainstream international relations journals, this anthology provides the wherewithal to do so.' - reviewed in Human Rights & Human Welfare: An International Review of Books and Other Publications.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Human Rights: Historical and Contemporary Controversies Part 1: The Origins: Secular, Asian and Monotheistic Traditions Part 2: The Legacy of Liberalism and the Enlightenment Part 3: The Socialist Contribution and the Industrial Age Part 4: The Right to Self-Determination and the Imperial Age Part 5: Human Rights in the Era of Globalization Part 6: Human Rights and Legal Documents: A Brief Historical Narrative

About the Author

Micheline Ishay is Professor at the Joesph Korbel School of International Studies at University of Denver, where she is Director of the human rights program. She has been a Visiting Professor at The University of Tel Aviv, the University of Maryland, and as Lady Davis Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and speaks regularly on a variety of human rights and foreign policy issues. Ishay is the author or editor of The History of Human Rights (2004), The Nationalism Reader (1999), and Internationalism and Its Betrayal (1995).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Arms Control
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General