Substance, Scale, and Salience: The Recent Historiography of Human Rights
Posted: 31 Oct 2012
Date Written: December 2012
This review evaluates the current state of the historiography of human rights, which originated as a field a mere decade ago. It proposes that the substantive contents of norms, doctrines, and law still attract most historians interested in human rights but are only part of a necessarily broader domain of inquiry. Promisingly, recent entries in the field focus on the extension of the geographical scale of application of human rights, as well as on the differing political and ideological salience that human rights ideas have achieved in diverse moments. The historiographical survey concludes with a discussion of why the history of human rights began to be written and whether it is a pressing task to continue building the field.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation