Mark Bradley on The United States and the 1940s Global Human Rights Imagination

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The 1940s produced an unprecedented series of global efforts to articulate and codify human rights norms, most notably the adoption of the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.  But how did human rights, a language rarely used in the first half of the twentieth century, become believable in the aftermath of the Second World War?  Professor Bradley explored this question from the bottom up rather than the top down, concentrating on a series of U.S. legal cases from the late 1940s that reveal the contested and contingent nature of American engagement by both political elites and local actors in the making of a global human rights imagination.

Mark Philip Bradley is Bernadotte E. Schmitt Professor of International History at the University of Chicago, where he also directs the Committee on International Relations.  His research and teaching focuses on twentieth century U.S. international history, the global history of human rights politics and postcolonial Southeast Asian history.  He is the author of Imagining Vietnam and America: The Making of Postcolonial Vietnam (University of North Carolina Press, 2000), which won the Harry J. Benda Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, Vietnam at War (Oxford University Press, 2009) and is the co-editor of The Familiar Made Strange: Iconic American Texts after the Transnational Turn (Cornell University Press, 2014), Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars (Oxford University Press, 2008) and Truth Claims: Representation and Human Rights (Rutgers University Press, 2001).  A recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Fulbright-Hays, he received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in 1995.

Professor Bradley is currently completing a book that explores the place of the United States in the global human rights revolutions of the twentieth century for Cambridge University Press.  He is also co-authoring an international history of the Vietnam Wars for Blackwell/Wiley, serves as a co-editor of the Cornell University Press book series The United States in the World and is the President-Elect of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.