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 for the emergent global human rights movement at a time when this movement had not yet cohered into the industry it is today.
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Our latest issue of Humanity is out! It features essays on refugee theory and the necessity of trespass in Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year; the Balfour declaration as an instrument of imperial protection and Palestinian dispossession; late-Soviet economic thought and global debates over the role of state planning in development; the role of Brazilian Liberation Theology in framing Western European human rights media coverage of Brazil’s military dictatorship; the Standing Rock protests as offering a language of human rights not oriented towards the state; and a review of three recent books that theorize human rights in the face of critique.View entire issue >
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This essay is part of a forum on new histories of the Cold War. All contributions to the forum can be found here. Paul Thomas Chamberlain The Cold War’s Killing Fields: Rethinking the Long Peace New York: HarperCollins, 2018 Lorenz Lüthi Cold Wars: Asia, The Middle East, Europe Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020 Kristina Spohr Post Wall, Post Square: Rebuilding the World After 1989 New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020 Are we entering a new Cold War? Recent years have seen a deterioration of relations Continue reading →
This essay is part of a forum on new histories of the Cold War. All contributions to the forum can be found here. At this point, we know a lot about the Cold War. In part, that has been the product of archival access. Across Eastern Europe, formerly communist states and ex-Soviet republics have flung open their archives, willing—indeed, eager—to share the closely-held secrets of the past. The passage of time, too, has brought mandatory declassifications and regular releases from national archives, foreign ministries, presidential Continue reading →