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13 Acts of Academic Journalism and Historical Commentary on Human Rights

Opinions, Interventions and the Torsions of Politics


Ben Dorfman

Constituted of a range of essays, the present volume addresses a variety of contemporary and historical events from human rights perspectives. Taking on issues from the American presidential election to North Korean missile tests to terrorism and «civilizational» conflict to Cold War history, the current collection seeks to speak plainly by combining academic convention with a «feuilleton» style. Aimed at students and the public as much as other academics, the essays in this book seek to make rights concepts concrete by speaking to the issues through which they become salient: international conflict, social justice problems and the historical scenes that ask us to realize all human beings’ equality and dignity – an equality and dignity this book seeks to promote.

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This book is a result of the two and a half years of reflections on global affairs, historical issues and human rights. It wouldn’t exist without my students, reflections on my children and the many extraordinary people I’ve met through my now not-short career who have suggested that I should handle the issues I’d like to address my own way, and compose what amounts to an activist book. Our work as academics, intellectuals and, indeed, civic-minded members of the public at-large must concern the realization of people’s basic dignity and essential human equality. Come the twenty-first century, the road to such things has become too long. It’s time to begin to find an end to certain of our social and political journeys and to let the freedom and dignity of all human beings shine through.

Among those progressively-minded individuals encouraging the work behind this book are most certainly Óscar Garcia Agustín and Martin Bak Jørgensen, the editors of this worthwhile series. Their own work on issues concerned with problems of social injustice and political right has been inspiring and, with the current series, they’ve created a home for those who not only want to address such problems at-large, but do so creatively and in a different voice. Their work and collegiality have been decisive for this book.

In addition to the series editors, I’d like to express my thanks to Barbara J. Falk, Peter Hervik, Kalle Pihlainen, Peter Hervik, Kirsten Jæger...

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