Outside In: Refugees and Arendt’s Agonistic Polity

This post is part of a symposium on Lyndsey Stonebridge’s Placeless People. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Although inequality continues to skyrocket in the United States—whether in income, wealth, education, or healthcare outcomes—and the much-heralded revitalization of national infrastructure has yet to materialize, the current administration has placed its electoral wager on a loud and very public demand for $12.2 billion to extend the border wall with Mexico under the pretext of a national emergency.[1] While such a wall would not Continue reading →

Diagonals of Freedom

This post is part of a symposium on Lyndsey Stonebridge’s Placeless People. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. It is always a special act of scholarly good faith to take time to read, respond, and write about one another’s work; I thank my colleagues for their generous care, attention, and criticism, and the editors of Humanity for creating this space for dialogue and future thinking. Two themes emerge from these responses to Placeless People: Writing, Rights, and Refugees, one methodological, the other Continue reading →

Refractions of Humanity in Warfare

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. In her essay Jessica Whyte makes a fascinating intervention in the age-old debate on the origins of international humanitarian law (IHL) and its relationship with just war theory. In challenging Western-centered explanations, Whyte’s essay offers an intriguing perspective on the role of anti-colonial actors in IHL’s making, which is the focus of this review of her work. Unlike Continue reading →

On the Language of Just War: A Reply to Whyte

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. In her essay, Jessica Whyte persuasively refutes what she takes to be a hegemonic narrative of the development, and triumph, of ideas of just war. Reading together Walzer, O’Brien, and the 2015 United States Law of War Manual, she shows what a revisionist story they collectively offer, in part because of their reliance on a narrative in which Continue reading →

The Passive Civilian and the Ethics of Violence

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. While Jessica Whyte’s brilliant essay focuses on a particular historical moment, it also addresses a longstanding puzzle. She ponders why, in their effort to frame violence as ethical, some actors invoke the just war tradition and others the laws of war. She also asks why an actor who in the past has appealed to the laws of war Continue reading →

Radicalizing the Critique of Just War Thinking

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. Jessica Whyte’s essay sets itself the timely and ambitious goal of revealing the hidden history of just war thinking in the late 20th Century.[1] While several scholars have been pursuing the broader project of revisiting the dominant historiography, Whyte’s approach is highly original due to its detailed analysis of the concrete circumstances in which the Additional Protocols to Continue reading →

The U.S. Military and Just War Theory: A Response to Jessica Whyte

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. Jessica Whyte has written a compelling and erudite critique of claim in the 2015 United States Law of War manual that the laws of war are “rooted in the Just War tradition” (314). She convincingly demonstrates that this seemingly innocuous statement is completely at odds with those made by U.S. officials during the negotiations of the Additional Protocols Continue reading →

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 →

“It is Under the Banner of the Defence of Human Rights that We Shall Gather Our Crusade”: Human Rights and the Population Control Movement from the 1940s to the 1970s

Abstract: The essay analyses the role of human rights for the population control movement from the 1940s to the 1970s. It is based on records from the Population Council, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations. It shows that rights-based language was introduced by advocates of population control and not by its critics and argues that portraying overpopulation as a problem for the realization of human rights became a successful political strategy in building alliances with states and the UN’s leadership. Both were Continue reading → Continue reading →

Impartial in the Cold War? The Challenges of Détente, Dissidence, and Eastern European Membership to Amnesty International’s Policy of Impartiality

Abstract: Amnesty International was born in the highly politicized context of the East-West conflict commonly known as the Cold War with the intention of transcending its fault lines. It developed a politics of impartiality that was however deeply rooted in the Cold War paradigm and followed the example of the Red Cross and its humanitarian activism. These two features impeded organization’s navigation of the fluctuating dynamics between East and West and hampered the emergence of a local membership beyond the Iron Curtain in the 1970s. Continue reading → Continue reading →