call for contributions European Communitites and the Emergence of Human Rights in International Relations

01/10/19 – CFC “European Communitites and the Emergence of Human Rights in International Relations”

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Call for contributions “European Communitites and the Emergence of Human Rights in International Relations”


[Contemporary History, Diplomacy and International Relations, European History / Studies, Human Rights, Peace History / Studies]

During the 1970s and 1980s, human rights moved to the center of international politics, fueling political activism and debates at the international, transnational, and national levels. Nowhere was the debate on human rights more intense than in Western Europe, where social movements, political parties, national governments, and EEC institutions took front stage in debating human rights.

The proposal is based on the multifaceted transformations of the ’70s, a decade of radical change for the international system. Two transformations were particularly significant: the affirmation of the EEC as an actor in international politics and the rise of human rights activism. So far, these two bodies of scholarship have had little contact. On one hand, over the last few years, the emergence/popularity of human rights in the ’70s and ’80s has become a prominent field of historical enquiry. New questions have been formulated and new methodologies developed in order to tackle the origins, developments, and consequences of the growing international interest in human rights. As a relatively young field, much remains for scholars to explore. On the other hand, many historians of European integration have recently suggested that the EEC entered the ’70s with a strongly ambitious political agenda. Following the inception of European Political Cooperation, the adoption of the Declaration on European Identity, and the will to prove that the Community was a political player in the international system, EEC supranational institutions and Member States developed some autonomous and original actions in international relations.

In particular, editors believe that the role of Community Europe (broadly defined to encompass EEC supranational institutions, the Council of Europe, Western European States, political parties and transnational movements) in the global surge for human rights remains an understudied area of research.

Editors are soliciting essays for a proposed edited volume that aims to conceptualize and analyze the role of EEC political players (broadly defined to encompass European supranational institutions, governments, transnational movements, and political parties) in the international surge for human rights of the ’70s and ’80s. On a broader level, the volume seeks to understand whether a specific Western European discourse on human rights ever existed, how it originated, and how it interacted with other approaches to international human rights.

Areas the volume will investigate include, but are not limited to:

  1. Tensions over the definition of a human rights policy between European institutions and national governments
  2. Transnational activism and European supranational institutions (EEC; Council of Europe; the European Court of Human Rights)
  3. EEC institutions, the “Helsinki network” and the Cold War
  4. The place of human rights in EEC development policy
  5. Transatlantic conflicts and cooperation over human rights

Essays that use new primary sources and new methodologies are particularly welcome. The volume will be academic in approach, but essays should be written in accessible, jargon-free language. This invitation to submit does not guarantee that your submission will be published.


Deadline for submission is October 1, 2019.

Submission Requirements:

  1. 500-word abstract
  2. Short CV (max 2-3 pages)
  3. Proposal should be sent to: Umberto Tulli, , and Ilaria Zamburlini, .

Notification of acceptance will follow soon after the deadline. Final essays will not exceed 9,000 words (notes included).

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