Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 5
  • 30.99 (GBP)
    Digital access for individuals
    (PDF download and/or read online)
    Add to cart
    Added to cart
    Digital access for individuals
    (PDF download and/or read online)
    View cart
  • Export citation
  • Buy a print copy
  • Recommend to librarian

Book description

Did the history of human rights begin decades, centuries or even millennia ago? What constitutes this history? And what can we really learn from 'the textbook narrative' - the unilinear, forward-looking tale of progress and inevitable triumph authored primarily by Western philosophers, politicians and activists? Does such a distinguishable entity as 'the history of human rights' even exist, or are efforts to read evidence in past events of the later 'evolution' of human rights mere ideology? This book explores these questions through a collective effort by scholars of history, law, theology and anthropology. Rather than entities with an absolute, predefined 'essence', this book conceptualizes human rights as open-ended and ambiguous. It taps into recent 'revisionist' debates and asks: what do we really know of the history of human rights?


'As part of the growing interest in the history of human rights, 'Revisiting the Origins of Human Rights' offers a dizzying array of insights into how ‘rights’ came to be mobilized, and how context and perspective, imagination and discourse, or ideology and narrative are not just of historiographical interest: they are the very key to understanding what rights are. Indispensable reading for historians of human rights and human rights practitioners alike.'

Frédéric Mégret - McGill University, Montreal

'Revisiting the Origins of Human Rights is a significant contribution to debates about the history of human rights, a field that is full of ideas and provocations. It brings together leading scholars from a range of disciplines and provides numerous original and thought-provoking insights.'

Tobias Kelly - The University of Edinburgh

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.