Legal Thought

2017
Martti Koskenniemi and the Historiography of International Law in the Age of the War on Terror
Moyn, Samuel. “Martti Koskenniemi and the Historiography of International Law in the Age of the War on Terror.” In The Law of International Lawyers: Reading Martti Koskenniemi, edited by Wouter Werner, Marieke de Hoon, and Alexis Galán, 340-59. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Publisher's Version
2016
Knowledge and Politics in International Law
Moyn, Samuel. “Knowledge and Politics in International Law.” Harvard Law Review 129, no. 8 (2016): 2164-89. Publisher's Version
2015
Religious Freedom and the Fate of Secularism
Moyn, Samuel. “Religious Freedom and the Fate of Secularism.” In Religion, Secuarlism, and Constitutional Democracy, edited by Jean L. Cohen and Cecile Laborde, 27-46. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. Publisher's Version
The Embarrassment of Human Rights
Moyn, Samuel. “The Embarrassment of Human Rights.” Texas International Law Journal: The Forum 50, no. 1 (2015): 1-7. Publisher's Version
Scofflaws in the White House
Moyn, Samuel. “Scofflaws in the White House.” Wall Street Journal, 2015. Publisher's Version
2014
A Powerless Companion: Human Rights in the Age of Neoliberalism
Moyn, Samuel. “A Powerless Companion: Human Rights in the Age of Neoliberalism.” Law and Contemporary Problems 77, no. 4 (2014): 147-69. Publisher's Version
Thomas Piketty and the Future of Legal Scholarship
Moyn, Samuel. “Thomas Piketty and the Future of Legal Scholarship.” Harvard Law Review Forum 128 (2014): 49-55. Publisher's Version
Judith Shklar über die Philosophie des Völkerstrafrechts
Moyn, Samuel. “Judith Shklar über die Philosophie des Völkerstrafrechts.” Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 62, no. 4 (2014): 683-707. Publisher's Version
Judith Shklar on the Philosophy of International Criminal Law
Moyn, Samuel. “Judith Shklar on the Philosophy of International Criminal Law.” International Criminal Law Review 14, no. 4/5 (2014): 717-37. Publisher's Version
Human Rights and the Uses of History
Moyn, Samuel. Human Rights and the Uses of History. New York and London: Verso, 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

What are the origins of human rights? 

This question, rarely asked before the end of the Cold War, has in recent years become a major focus of historical and ideological strife. In this sequence of reflective and critical studies, Samuel Moyn engages with some of the leading interpreters of human rights, thinkers who have been creating a field from scratch without due reflection on the local and temporal contexts of the stories they are telling.

Having staked out his owns claims about the postwar origins of human rights discourse in his acclaimed Last Utopia, Moyn, in this volume, takes issue with rival conceptions—including, especially, those that underlie justifications of humanitarian intervention.

2013
The International Law That Is America: Reflections on the Last Chapter ofThe Gentle Civilizer of Nations
Moyn, Samuel. “The International Law That Is America: Reflections on the Last Chapter ofThe Gentle Civilizer of Nations.” Temple International and Comparative Law Journal 29, no. 2 (2013): 399-415. Publisher's Version
Judith Shklar versus the International Criminal Court
Moyn, Samuel. “Judith Shklar versus the International Criminal Court.” Humanity 4, no. 3 (2013): 473-500. Publisher's Version
2012
Do Human Rights Treaties Make Enough of a Difference?
Moyn, Samuel. “Do Human Rights Treaties Make Enough of a Difference?” In Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law, edited by Conor Gearty and Costas Douzinas, 329-47. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Publisher's Version
2010
Personalismus, Gemeinschaft, und die Ursprünge der Menschenrechte
Moyn, Samuel. “Personalismus, Gemeinschaft, und die Ursprünge der Menschenrechte.” In ., Moralpolitik: Geschichte der Menschenrechte im 20. Jahrhundert, edited by Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2010. Publisher's Version
The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History
Moyn, Samuel. The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press, 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Human rights offer a vision of international justice that today’s idealistic millions hold dear. Yet the very concept on which the movement is based became familiar only a few decades ago when it profoundly reshaped our hopes for an improved humanity. In this pioneering book, Samuel Moyn elevates that extraordinary transformation to center stage and asks what it reveals about the ideal’s troubled present and uncertain future.

For some, human rights stretch back to the dawn of Western civilization, the age of the American and French Revolutions, or the post–World War II moment when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was framed. Revisiting these episodes in a dramatic tour of humanity’s moral history, The Last Utopia shows that it was in the decade after 1968 that human rights began to make sense to broad communities of people as the proper cause of justice. Across eastern and western Europe, as well as throughout the United States and Latin America, human rights crystallized in a few short years as social activism and political rhetoric moved it from the hallways of the United Nations to the global forefront.

It was on the ruins of earlier political utopias, Moyn argues, that human rights achieved contemporary prominence. The morality of individual rights substituted for the soiled political dreams of revolutionary communism and nationalism as international law became an alternative to popular struggle and bloody violence. But as the ideal of human rights enters into rival political agendas, it requires more vigilance and scrutiny than when it became the watchword of our hopes.