July 17: Samuel Moyn and Mark Philip Bradley on Decolonization, Self-Determination, and Human Rights

In conjunction with the 2012 International Seminar on Decolonization, the National History Center hosted a capacity crowd of more than 100 people for a talk by human rights scholar Samuel Moyn of Columbia University, with a comment by Mark Philip Bradley of the University of Chicago on July 17.

Moyn discussed the relationship between decolonization and the twentieth century advent of human rights. Decolonization was a human rights victory, he argued, but he asked to what degree it was thought of in those terms, particularly when human rights advocates established the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948? He also addressed the relationship of human rights and self-determination, including the recent history of human rights as they developed within and alongside the process of decolonization. He grapples with this topic at great length in his book The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History.

Mark Philip Bradley, Professor of History at the University of Chicago, commented. He is completing a book that examines the place of the United States in the twentieth century global human rights imagination.

The Seventh International Seminar on Decolonization is organized by the National History Center of the American Historical Association, hosted by the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, and generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.