Sentencing at the ICTY: Doing justice to complex realities of international crimes?

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. International crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are manifestations of large-scale serious violations of human rights, which have been defined as the most serious crimes of international concern. They constitute a prime example of collective, systematic criminality. Usually, they are committed by a multiplicity Continue reading →

Symposium: Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. As the field of international criminal justice has institutionalized over the course of the past 70 years, communities—both local and international—have increasingly turned to international criminal courts and tribunals (ICTs) to serve as arbiters of truth in the aftermath of mass atrocities. In turn, ICTs have acted as Continue reading →

Is a global history of development possible?

This post first appeared at Small Precautions.   What would a fully integrated “global” history of development entail? It would require Considering all actors in the development process: from the subaltern “objects” of development at one end of the spectrum, to various NGOs and IFIs and transnational corporations in the middle layers, to state elites in the North at the other end – recognizing the politically negotiated nature of each project Looking across all geographies in which development has been deployed: including not just the Continue reading →

The Athenians No Longer Know the Megarians

This post originally appeared on Al-Jumhuriya. Deluge © Imranovi The following is a talk given by Kelly Grotke for Stanford University’s conference on the subject of ‘Cruelty’, in which the prominent academic examines friendship, universality, and cruelty between the European past and the Syrian present. States of Friendship Friendship, for Cicero, was a virtuous thing, sustained by love, respect, and sincerity – this is why “one does not live with a friend as one would with a dictator.”[2] Similarly, for Etienne la Boétie: “…a tyrant never either Continue reading →

Beyond Good Intentions: Responsible and Effective Advocacy in the Digital Age

This review essay will appear in Humanity volume 9, issue 1. Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism Alex de Waal, editor Zed Books, 2015 Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data Is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response Patrick Meier CRS Press, 2015 Dangerous Trade: Arms Exports, Human Rights, and International Reputation Jennifer Erickson Columbia University Press, 2015 On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake shook Haiti, leading to the collapse of much of its infrastructure, burying hundreds of thousands beneath the rubble. At a Continue reading →

Gunnar Myrdal in the Latest Issue of Humanity

This post originally appeared at HistPhil, where Maribel Morey is co-editor. She discusses the Gunnar Myrdal symposium featured in Humanity’s latest issue. Americans generally remember Gunnar Myrdal (1898-1987) as the astute Swedish observer of American race relations who authored the monumental study of black Americans that had been commissioned and funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944). Cataloguing the various ways that white Americans discriminated against black Americans, Myrdal argued in the two-volume manuscript that Continue reading →

A Progressive Defense of Originalism

In nominating Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, President Trump fulfilled a campaign pledge to nominate a person who followed in the tradition of “Originalism” espoused by Justice Antonin J. Scalia. In making this pledge, Mr. Trump affirmed the conventional association between an Originalist approach to legal interpretation and a well defined set of conservative political and social views. To be an Originalist, Trump implied and his supporters assumed, was to be anti-regulation, anti-abortion, anti-welfare, anti-immigrant, anti-minority rights; it was also to be Continue reading →

“Globalization,” what is it good for?

This piece has previously appeared in German translation in Heft 10 (Oktober 2016). When the global economic crisis erupted in 2008, it was not only historians who scurried in search of the lessons of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Nearly a decade later, as analysts of Britain’s departure from the EU diagnose the symptoms of an economic malaise called “globalization,” it is again worth considering what we can learn from the past. It might seem unimaginable—given the turn in present-day political rhetoric—but through the Continue reading →

Humanitarian Spaces: Three Concepts for a History (Part 3)

This is part three in a series. See here for parts one and two. Oath and language: In my third and final example, I come to probably the most important element in structuring humanitarian spaces: language. It is in language that the connection between the spheres of humanitarianism, power, and politics becomes clearest. Here, I will not look at the meanings of the words or programmes of humanitarians; I am interested in the function of humanitarian language within the political sphere. In his work on Continue reading →

Humanitarian Spaces: Three Concepts for a History (Part 2)

This is part two in a series. For part one, see here. Part three will follow tomorrow. Structuring knowledge: If the Maussian concept can help to see social spaces with dynamic and asymmetric power relations, theories developed by Foucault can sharpen the understanding of the institutionalization of knowledge as a strategy of governance. In the field of humanitarianism the example is the standardization and dissemination of knowledge.[1] Many books have been written on missions and operations, but little research has been done on the development Continue reading →