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 key factors for the financial support and widespread implementation of population control programmes from the 1960s onwards.
Our Summer 2022 issue is out! It features an essay on the Mande "Hunters' Oath"—including the first full translation of the text from Mandenkan into English—as well as articles on a humanizing monetary ontology that advances the work of Frantz Fanon and Paulo Freire; the shifting focus from land-based idioms of humanitarianism to maritime aid; a conceptual history of China's advocacy for a "human community of fate"; the strategic quantification of civilian casualties in Afghanistan; state and humanitarian coordination in Lebanon and its unintended impact on Syrian refugees; and populist appropriations of human rights discourse.View entire issue >
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This essay is part of a symposium on Gerry Simpson’s The Sentimental Life of International Law. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. [I]rony [is employed] as a defense, . . . especially against the expression of intense affect . . . – M.H. Stein (1985) G.’s aspiration in his splendid new book appears to be to rewrite international law as a vast novel, much as (another) G. sought to rewrite world history as a vast novel two centuries ago, in his Continue reading →
This essay is part of a symposium on Gerry Simpson’s The Sentimental Life of International Law. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Gerry Simpson has written what he is pleased to describe—tongue firmly placed in cheek—in the alternative as “the most useless book in the history of international law,” presumably saving any timid would-be-readers the trouble of checking for themselves. What the intrepid rest of us do get instead are six chapters showcasing in typical Simpsonian fashion what is possible in writing Continue reading →