Weston GrearWelcome to the website supporting the wholly revised fourth edition of Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action,  forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press (UPP) in February/March 2016.

Once this new edition is available for course adoption, you will find on this site the book’s documentary appendices, a bibliography, a filmography, blog entries, news, links,  and other human rights resources useful to the full measure of the book’s capacity.

Since the publication of the first edition of Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action  in 1989, students of human rights on every continent have witnessed a large number of states becoming “emerging” or “reemerging” democracies, and proclaiming support for the promotion and protection of international human rights. The second edition, published in 1992—soon after the dismantling of the Berlin Wall―reflected a widely shared post-Cold War aspiration to displace the then sterile posturing of superpower rivalry with a lively and constructive global human rights culture. The third edition, published in 2006, was intended to facilitate human rights education in support of the international commitments voiced in the Millennium Declaration 2000 when United Nations member states pledged that they would spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.

These positive achievements and the progressive opportunities they provide remain with us today.  In recent times, however, human rights have been put under severe increased pressure. Terrorist networks have made even the most powerful states feel vulnerable, tempting some to suggest that countering terrorism should displace human rights as a priority on the global agenda. Challenges to human rights worldwide have featured wars, genocides, crimes against humanity, and reports of torture attributable to every country, including the United Kingdom and the United States, two countries that have long espoused the world rule of law. Climate change pressures add further challenges—including the prospect of states pursuing rights-violating agendas when anticipated public order crises emerge. Meanwhile, the shadow of surveillance and state-corporate control seems to grow and the global potential for instability and for environmental catastrophe—increasingly anticipated even by the mainstream media—seems to mount. The familiar threats to human rights remain deeply embedded. But especially troubling is that we live now in an era marked by the triple major threats of climate change, the ominous portent of nuclear proliferation, and the far-reaching impacts of global poverty, the consequence in part of a crippling global financial crisis that has widened the gap between rich and poor the world over.  Each of these major threats challenge the future of human rights as never before.

It is against this backdrop that this fourth and wholly revised edition of Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action is compiled.  As we write:

Humanity, at this point in the twenty-first century, stands at a highly strategic juncture—laden with threats, but also  ripe with opportunity for creating a different kind of world. A more humane world is possible, one that builds upon currently insurgent schools of thought in economics, digital technology, and human rights—indeed, in human governance―which, jointly and separately, are expanding our sense of the possible.

The fourth edition of Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action, forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press in time for Spring 2016 course adoptions offers one thought-provoking strand in—and a set of resources to facilitate—an increasingly urgent human conversation about what hopeful future histories can be forged against the grain of deepening peril. This website, graciously hosted by The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR), supplies resources to support it—and you—in this profound human challenge.  We thank the UICHR for this privilege and for the opportunity to be counted among its many and diverse human rights initiatives—all available for viewing at www.uichr.org.

Contributors: Seyla Benhabib, Fiona Beveridge, Claudia Card, Richard Pierre Claude, Wade M. Cole, Karen Engle, Tony Evans, Richard Fairbrother, Richard A. Falk, Judy Fudge, Conor Gearty, Anna Grear, Cindy Holder, Paul Hunt, Bonny Ibhawoh, Michael Ignatieff, Ratna Kapur, Harold Hongju Koh, Scott Leckie, Richard B. Lillich, Stephen P. Marks, Susan Marks, Robert McCorquodale, Daniel Moeckli, Siobhan Mullally, Martha C. Nussbaum, Jordan J. Paust, Christopher N. J. Roberts, Douglas Roche, Dinah L. Shelton, Penelope Simons, Margaret R. Somers, Jonathan Todres, Felisa L. Tibbitts, Ineke van der Valk, Jeremy Waldron, Burns H. Weston, and Hannah Wittman

Praise for the Edition:

“This is a remarkably rich, diverse, timely, and challenging collection that highlights both the imperative of promoting human rights as well as the challenges and obstacles that their advocates must confront. Very highly recommended.”—Philip Alston, New York University

“What a marvelously exciting book! Professors Weston and Grear have brought together a stellar lineup of scholars to remind us why we used to think human rights mattered so much—and to show how they can be revived to inspire a radical critique of international law and politics, one that is ever more urgent as we head into an increasingly dark future. Bravo!”—Stephen Humphreys, London School of Economics

“In this welcome fourth edition, Burns Weston and Anna Grear have curated an outstanding collection of essays that offer critical insights both for those who are venturing into the world of human rights for the first time and for those who are its most seasoned advocates.”—Barbara A. Frey, University of Minnesota

“Human rights are not easy. The great strength of this iconic volume lies in its explicit recognition of their multiple dimensions—stretching across philosophy, politics, economics, and the law. Building on the wide-ranging contributions of leading authors in the field, the editors invite readers to reflect critically on the problems as well as possibilities of human rights. Yet another generation of students and teachers has reason to be grateful.”—David Kinley, The University of Sydney

If you’d like to be notified as soon as the book is available for course adoption or later full release, please add your name to our mailing list.