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Vanderbilt University Law School
131 21st Ave S, Nashville, Tennessee 37203
Please join the George Barrett Social Justice Program in welcoming Dr. James Loeffler for a discussion of his book Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century.This event, which will be held in the Hyatt room, is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.
The year 2018 marks the seventieth anniversary of two momentous events in twentieth-century history: the birth of the State of Israel and the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Both remain tied together in the ongoing debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global antisemitism, and American foreign policy. Yet the surprising connections between Zionism and the origins of international human rights are completely unknown today.
In this riveting account, James Loeffler explores this controversial history through the stories of five remarkable Jewish founders of international human rights, following them from the prewar shtetls of eastern Europe to the postwar United Nations, a journey that includes the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials, the founding of Amnesty International, and the UN resolution of 1975 labeling Zionism as racism. The result is a book that challenges long-held assumptions about the history of human rights and offers a startlingly new perspective on the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
James Loeffler is Jay Berkowitz Professor of Jewish History at the University of Virginia. Between 2013 and 2015 he was a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellow in International Law and Dean’s Visiting Scholar at the Georgetown University Law Center. At UVa he teaches courses in Jewish and European history, Russian and East European history, international legal history, and the history of human rights. His publications include Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press, 2018) and The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire (Yale University Press, 2010), and the forthcoming edited volume, The Law of Strangers: Jewish Lawyering and International Law in Historical Perspective (Cambridge University Press).
Visitors should park in the Terrace Place Garage, spaces 41-92, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Terrace Place, or the Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Scarritt Place. Parking costs range from $4.00 to $12.00 at these garages. Both are within walking distance of the law school.