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Author Talk with Eric Weitz on “A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation States”
September 10, 2019, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Professor and author Eric Weitz speaks about his book, “A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation States,” a global history of the fate of human rights in a world of nation-states. The book also explains the origins of many of today’s crises, from the existence of more than 65 million refugees and migrants worldwide to the growth of right-wing nationalism.
From the Princeton University Press website: Once dominated by vast empires, the world is now divided into close to 200 independent countries with laws and constitutions proclaiming human rights—a transformation that suggests that nations and human rights inevitably developed together. But the reality is far more problematic, as Eric Weitz shows in this compelling global history of the fate of human rights in a world of nation-states.
Through vivid histories drawn from virtually every continent, “A World Divided” describes how, since the eighteenth century, nationalists have struggled to establish their own states that grant human rights to some people. At the same time, they have excluded others through forced assimilation, ethnic cleansing, or even genocide. From Greek rebels, American settlers, and Brazilian abolitionists in the nineteenth century to anticolonial Africans and Zionists in the twentieth, nationalists have confronted a crucial question: Who has the “right to have rights?” “A World Divided” tells these stories in colorful accounts focusing on people who were at the center of events. And it shows that rights are dynamic. Proclaimed originally for propertied white men, rights were quickly demanded by others, including women, American Indians, and black slaves.
“A World Divided” also explains the origins of many of today’s crises, from the existence of more than 65 million refugees and migrants worldwide to the growth of right-wing nationalism. The book argues that only the continual advance of international human rights will move us beyond the quandary of a world divided between those who have rights and those who don’t.
Eric D. Weitz is Distinguished Professor of History at City College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is also the former Dean of Humanities and Arts at City College. Trained in modern German and European history, Weitz also works in international and global history. His other major publications include:
- “Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy” (2007; Weimar Centennial (third) edition 2018),
- “A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation” (2003; reprint with new foreword 2014), and
- “Creating German Communism, 1890-1990: From Popular Protests to Socialist State” (1997), all with Princeton University Press.
“Weimar Germany” was named an “Editor’s Choice” by The New York Times Book Review. Weitz edits a book series for Princeton, Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity. He has been the recipient of many fellowships and awards from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and others. Weitz lectures widely in public and academic settings on the history of human rights and genocides and on Weimar Germany.
This program is presented in partnership with Princeton University Press.
Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.