[N]ot only does cosmopolitanism come in the plural but articulations of it have teemed all along and even struggled vigorously with one another. And indeed they have done so in the heart of the tradition of the West . . . . Any story of cosmopolitanism anywhere . . . needs to be as much about the conflict of ideologies as it is about the breakthrough to one; and if this insight is helpful for understanding ancient history, it is even more decisive a tool for conceptualizing modern times. As late as 1948 and the beginning of the cold war, which was a battle to the death of rival cosmopolitanisms, “humanity” was crucial but only in different articulations aiming to supplement or to displace one another. In short, 1948 is not the turning point in the path of a singular cosmopolitanism but the scene of struggle between different kinds—a struggle in which the appeal to and of human rights was actually very minor.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Moyn: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 in the History of Cosmopolitanism
Samuel Moyn (Harvard Univ. - Law) has published The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 in the History of Cosmopolitanism (Critical Inquiry, Vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 365-384, Summer 2014). Here's an excerpt: