Author Archives: Jessica Whyte

About Jessica Whyte

Jessica Whyte is associate professor and scientia fellow in the department of philosophy at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Her work integrates political theory, intellectual history, and political economy to analyze contemporary forms of sovereignty, human rights, and humanitarianism. She has published in a range of fora including Contemporary Political Theory, Humanitarianism and Development, Law and Critique, Political Theory, and Theory and Event. Her first monograph, Catastrophe and Redemption: The Political Thought of Giorgio Agamben, was published by SUNY Press in 2013. Her forthcoming book, The Morals of the Market: Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism, will be published by Verso in 2019. Her current project is an examination of the moral economy of warfare.

Just War, History and Conflict: A Response

This post is part of a symposium on Jessica Whyte’s essay “The ‘Dangerous Concept of the Just War.’” All contributions to the symposium can be found here. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to engage with the questions posed by these astute and thoughtful responses to my work. Those questions are as numerous as they are provocative, and here I focus on several themes that allow me to bring into sharper focus and extend the claims of my original essay. That essay challenges moralizing Continue reading →

The “Dangerous Concept of the Just War”: Decolonization, Wars of National Liberation, and the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions

Abstract: In 2002, the North American political theorist Michael Walzer announced the “triumph of just war theory,” which he saw as evidence of moral progress. This paper challenges Walzer’s progressive narrative by turning to the often-acrimonious debates about just and unjust wars during the drafting of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions. I show that during the International Committee of the Red Cross’s “Diplomatic Conference on the Laws of War” (1974-77) it was the Third World and Soviet states that used the language of Continue reading → Continue reading →

The Fortunes of Natural Man: Robinson Crusoe, Political Economy, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“What is at stake here,” the Lebanese United Nations delegate Charles Malik wrote of the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), “is the determination of the nature of man.”1 As a student of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, Malik was intensely attuned to the philosophical significance of the attempt to formulate a list of basic rights.2 Reflecting on his own participation in the drafting process, Malik, who drafted the declaration’s preamble, noted that this posed three central questions: Is man an animal Continue reading → Continue reading →