“No Right to Judge”: Alessandrini on Çubukçu, For the Love of Humanity

This post is part of a symposium on Ayça Çubukçu’s book For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Attempting the Impossible, Doing the Necessary Sometimes, in trying to think through the history of the present, it’s helpful to begin at the end and work your way back. The reader who takes this approach to Ayça Çubukçu’s For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq will be Continue reading →

Allen on Çubukçu, For the Love of Humanity

This post is part of a symposium on Ayça Çubukçu’s book For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). All contributions to the symposium can be found here. For the Love of Humanity tells the story of the global anti-war movement’s efforts to put the United States, the United Kingdom, and their allies on trial for crimes committed during the invasion and occu­pation of Iraq. It is an intensely creative and also a vexing book. How it troubles Continue reading →

Hopgood on Çubukçu, For the Love of Humanity

This post is part of a symposium on Ayça Çubukçu’s book For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Much as its liberal cosmopolitan advocates might wish otherwise, “human rights” are a floating signifier. Small libraries have been built on the effort to give “human rights” settled and permanent philosophical and legal meaning, as well as cultural and historical grounding in a variety of genealogies of moral progress, but Continue reading →

Krever on Çubukçu, For the Love of Humanity

This post is part of a symposium on Ayça Çubukçu’s book For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). All contributions to the symposium can be found here. When Bertrand Russell organized an International War Crimes Tribunal in 1966 to investigate and condemn United States imperialism in Vietnam, the institutional form chosen was highly original. Backed by no state and unable to compel individuals to stand accused or to impose sanctions, the tribunal would nonetheless use the model Continue reading →

Wilder on Çubukçu, For the Love of Humanity

This post is part of a symposium on Ayça Çubukçu’s book For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Ayça Çubukçu’s original and insightful book is an exemplary work of critical scholarship for our times. This ethnography of the 2003–2005 World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI), of which she was an organizer, boldly relates theory to practice as well as scholarship to activism. Her method, which she calls “political philosophy Continue reading →

Çubukçu: Response to the reviews

This post is part of a symposium on Ayça Çubukçu’s book For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). All contributions to the symposium can be found here. I would like thank the remarkable scholars gathered in this book symposium from the fields of anthropology, history, international law, international relations, and English literature, who have responded in challenging ways to my book, For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq, and to what the book describes, Continue reading →

Statement from the New Editorial Collective, 2019

The journal Humanity was founded in 2010 to examine the politics of “humanity” found in the convergence of human rights, humanitarianism and development. This was a period when a critique of human rights and the entanglements of humanitarianisms with empire was also gaining momentum. The current editorial collective affirms Humanity’s founding mission while attuning to new challenges. A complex dynamic of old problems and emerging obstacles has occasioned a chastened turn to human rights and humanitarianism: a renewed call to humanity has gained traction in 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 →

A Postcolonial Theory of Universal Humanity: Bessie Head’s Ethics of the Margins

Abstract: Universal humanity—the idea that human beings are, in some ways, all the same, possessing the same needs and rights—is the guiding principle of humanitarian action. Within postcolonial studies, this universalist philosophy has come under intense scrutiny for its Western bias and neglect of cultural and historical difference. This article explores the tension between humanitarian discourse and postcolonial theory through analysis of Bessie Head’s fiction, asking how we might envision a form of international community that avoids imperial power dynamics. Head’s work critiques universal humanism Continue reading → Continue reading →

Claiming Human Rights: Iranian Political Prisoners and the Making of a Transnational Movement, 1963–1979

Abstract: This essay examines the transnational movement against prisoner abuse and torture in Pahlavi Iran in the 1960s-1970s. Arguing that the notion of human rights in this era was neither fixed nor stable, it analyzes the encounter between Iranian revolutionaries, students, and intellectuals and international human rights activists and organizations. It argues that the growing prominence of prisoner abuse in Iran provided a rallying point for Iranian dissidents of various political stripes in the years before the 1979 revolution as well as a testing ground Continue reading → Continue reading →