Human Rights, Religion, Globalization, Jan. 26-27, 2017

Dr. Sam Moyn, Harvard Law School

Dr. Sam Moyn, Harvard, LawMost people today associate human rights with the secular progressive cause. This talk looks at how, in European history in the middle of the twentieth century, the Christian right made a critical contribution. Based on a new book of the same name, the talk argues that human rights were valuable as the European right moved beyond authoritarian reaction as World War II was won by the Allies, and the threat of a secular socialist left arose in postwar party politics. Human rights rhetoric emerged from the top of ecclesiastical hierarchies, and new kinds of center right Christian political parties rose championing ideas like human dignity and human rights.

Samuel Moyn is Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law and Professor of History at Harvard University. His areas of interest in legal scholarship include international law, human rights, the law of war, and legal thought, in both historical and current perspective. In intellectual history, he has worked on a diverse range of subjects, especially twentieth-century European moral and political theory. He has written several books in his fields of European intellectual history and human rights history, including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Harvard University Press, 2010), and edited or coedited a number of others. His new book, based on Mellon Distinguished Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2014, is Christian Human Rights (2015).

Public Lecture

“Christian Human Rights”
Thursday Jan. 26, 7:30 pm, David Turpin A102


“Human Rights and History”
Friday Jan. 27, 11:00 am, Law Library, Room 265


Stefan Ludwig-Hoffman. 2016. “Human Rights and History,” Past and Present 232 (1): 279-310.

Sam Moyn. 2016. “The End of Human Rights History,” Past and Present 232 (1): 1-16.