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Human Rights in the Shadow of Colonial Violence
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Human Rights in the Shadow of Colonial Violence
The Wars of Independence in Kenya and Algeria

Fabian Klose. Translated by Dona Geyer

392 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth 2013 | ISBN 9780812244953 | $89.95s | Outside the Americas £72.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
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Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2014
"Hard-hitting and heroically researched in a vast number of far-flung archives, Human Rights in the Shadow of Colonial Violence asks what post-World War II international norms meant on the ground for states fighting counterinsurgencies on behalf of settler colonialism."—Samuel Moyn, Columbia University

Reviews of the German edition:

"The originality of [Klose's] approach lies in placing the radicalization of colonial violence by both colonial powers, Great Britain and France, in the context of the international human rights regime that emerged after the Second World War. . . . In all, Klose has made a substantial contribution to decolonization research."—Andreas Eckert, Historische Zeitschrift

"In an elegant and very readable way, Fabian Klose combines three topics in his work: the origins of the international human rights regime, decolonization, and the unchecked use of force. . . . A superbly readable depiction of the subject and chock-full of sources."—Wolfgang Büttner, sehepunkte

"A major contribution to the study of areas in decolonization history that have been largely unexplored until now, namely the role of human rights discourse and the unchecked use of force. . . . Using copious sources, including those from several previously unused archival collections, [Klose] has succeeded in advancing research on the history of violence and human rights in decolonization a good deal."—Jan Eckel, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte online

Human Rights in the Shadow of Colonial Violence explores the relationship between the human rights movement emerging after 1945 and the increasing violence of decolonization. Based on material previously inaccessible in the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Human Rights Commission, this comparative study uses the Mau Mau War (1952-1956) and the Algerian War (1954-1962) to examine the policies of two major imperial powers, Britain and France. Historian Fabian Klose considers the significance of declared states of emergency, counterinsurgency strategy, and the significance of humanitarian international law in both conflicts.

Klose's findings from these previously confidential archives reveal the escalating violence and oppressive tactics used by the British and French military during these anticolonial conflicts in North and East Africa, where Western powers that promoted human rights in other areas of the world were opposed to the growing global acceptance of freedom, equality, self-determination, and other postwar ideals. Practices such as collective punishment, torture, and extrajudicial killings did lasting damage to international human rights efforts until the end of decolonization.

Clearly argued and meticulously researched, Human Rights in the Shadow of Colonial Violence demonstrates the mutually impacting histories of international human rights and decolonization, expanding our understanding of political violence in human rights discourse.

Fabian Klose teaches history at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and is Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz.

Dona Geyer is an independent translator based in Germany.

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