Human Rights: An Anthropological Reader brings together for the first time key works that demonstrate the important contributions anthropology has made to the understanding and practice of human rights. Anthropologists have drawn on a range of intellectual and methodological approaches in order to reveal both the ambiguities and tremendous potential in the postwar human rights project. This volume synthesizes these different approaches to show how anthropologists have engaged with human rights as committed activists, empirical researchers, and cultural critics. Few other disciplines can claim such a wide-ranging yet integrated legacy of human rights scholarship and practice. In examining and drawing out the broader implications of this continuing legacy, this volume serves as an essential resource for researchers, practitioners, and students of human rights across a variety of fields and interests.

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“Critical in its dialogue with neighboring disciplines, empirically grounded and self-reflexive, imbued with a keen sense of history and an awareness of the dilemmas facing academics and activists alike in the field of human rights, this remarkable collection brings together some of the best recent scholarship in anthropology on the subject.”

Shalini Randeria, University of Zurich

“No praise is high enough for this astonishing anthology, which brings some rare gifts towards a renewed understanding of human rights from the platforms of critical anthropology.”

Upendra Baxi, University of Warwick

“This is a spectacularly valuable and enlightening anthology The collection really is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in a deeper understanding of the challenges and pitfalls of promoting human rights.”

Philip Alston, New York University School of Law