Winter Semester 2018/2019
International Law and Human Rights in Jewish History
Time: 22, 10, 14, and 15 December 2018; 7, 11, and 12 January 2019 (block seminar)
Start: 22 October 2018
Location: Dubnow Institute, Goldschmidtstr. 28
Seminar Language: English
Description: This course explores the lives, work, and writings of Jewish international lawyers and human rights activists from the end of the 19th Century to the 1960s. Its starting point is the evident impact of Jewish scholars on modern international law and human rights. After all, international law was traditionally considered the »product of European Christian civilization.« Moreover, international law was something that was reserved, in theory and practice, for sovereign states alone. This begs additional questions: why would a stateless people display an interest in this liberal-cosmopolitan project? What promise of emancipation did they see in international treaties and organisations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations? And how have the Holocaust and the establishment of a Jewish state affected these perspectives?
The course is open to students of history, law, and political science. It requires, however, no prior knowledge in either field. The block course will be held on 22 October, 10, 14, and 15 December 2018 and 7, 11, and 12 January 2019.
Literature: James Loeffler’s Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press 2018) covers some persons, institutions, or events explored in this course. Students are required to read, for each class, a pre-assigned article or book chapter. Class work will be dedicated to close readings of pre-assigned primary sources: letters, memoranda, etc. A course reader will be distributed in advance.
Participation is limited to 25 people.
Open to mature age students: no