Future’s past: in search of human rights histories

The thematic focus of the series highlights areas of research that human rights historians have been exploring and which has proven to be particularly promising. Three themes are given emphasis: 1) the need for substantively engaging with writing the history of social and economic rights to achieve a fuller understanding of human rights history; 2) the subtle and nuanced roles of global south actors and their human rights engagements in shaping this history; and 3) an enhanced appreciation of the significant role that a globally diverse range of women actors played in shaping international human rights across the 20th century. 

The time-frame covered by articles is expansive, stretching from the French Revolution to building archives for present-day constitutionalism. The geographical scope highlights how transnational history has been central to recent historiography as it has inspired efforts to explore new actors, processes, and connections as well as alternative geographies in the writing of human rights history. 

We will publish a range of articles that present new research, fresh perspectives, and noteworthy interpretations over the coming months and welcome further submissions to the series.