Issue 6.3


Our new issue includes a series of touchtone pieces, including Stephen Humphreys’ meditation on “conscience” in its trajectory from the Middle Ages to the modern world of mass surveillance and the first installment of Joseph Morgan Hodge’s two part historiographical review of the literature on development. (The second part appears in our next issue.) Rounding out this season is Mira Siegelberg’s subtle and sensitive essay on how to think about the attempt to change international order after World War I.


Conscience in the Datasphere

Allow me to begin with two contemporary parables of conscience. The first is fictional. In Michael Haneke’s film Caché (2005), a well-heeled Parisian, Georges, finds himself subject to anonymous surveillance, sparking a series of events that lead him to reflect on his past. Specifically he is prompted to recall his jealous response, as a child in rural France, to the arrival in his home of an Algerian boy orphaned when his parents were killed in the 1961 “Paris Massacre.” 1 Georges dissembled and lied to ensure that the boy, Read More »

From Commoditizing to Commodifying Human Rights: Research on Forced Labor in Dominican Sugar Production

In this essay, “commoditization” and “commodification” refer to two distinguishable aspects of the relationship between human rights knowledge and the commodity form. Commoditization happens when human rights is marketed like a commodity, whether by packaging information in standardized and easily consumed numbers, icons, and graphics or “branding” human rights–monitoring organizations and their campaigns. Commodification happens when human rights information actually becomes a commodity, such as when rights investigations are done under contract, at times through international information supply chains, while possibly also subject to intellectual property restrictions. While commoditization is an Read More »

Photo Essay: From In the Presence of the Holy See

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What the Holy See Saw—and Didn't See

. . . technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original in itself . . . the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition . . . And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced . . . Its social significance, particularly in its most positive form, is inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic aspect, that Read More »

Writing the History of Development (Part 1: The First Wave)

Today . . . the idea of development stands like a ruin in the intellectual landscape. Delusion and disappointment, failures and crimes have been the steady companions of development and they tell a common story: it did not work. Moreover, the historical conditions which catapulted the idea into prominence have vanished: development has become outdated. But above all, the hopes and desires which made the idea fly, are now exhausted: development has grown obsolete . . . It is time to dismantle this mental structure Read More »

Neither Right nor Left: Interwar Internationalism between Justice and Order

The Birth of the New Justice: The Internationalization of Crime and Punishment, 1919–1950 Mark Lewis Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. xii + 346 pp. The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918–1924 Bruno Cabanes Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. vii + 360 pp. The Emergence of International Society in the 1920s Daniel Gorman Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. xii + 377 pp. Toward the very end of The Division of Labor, his 1897 masterpiece on the modern form of social solidarity produced by industrial modernity, Read More »