2016 Virtual Edition:
Human Rights

Guest Editors: Joshua Clark and Miia Halme-Tuomisaari

Anthropology, Human Rights, and Three (Miniature) Generations
Miia Halme-Tuomisaari and Joshua Clark

The reason for focusing this Virtual Edition upon human rights is simple: The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the UN’s two main human rights covenants – the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This occasion offers an auspicious moment in which to reflect upon what have been the key threads in anthropologists’ approaches to human rights over the past decades. Using nine articles published in PoLAR since 1995, we discuss the trajectory of the anthropology of human rights as comprised of three miniature ‘generations’, and offer some thoughts on where the sub-field might be heading.

Featured Articles and Postscripts

Transnational Influences on National Conflict: The Macedonian Question
Loring M. Danforth in Volume 18 Issue 1. May 1995

Legal Vernacularization and Ka Ho’okolokolonui Kanaka Maoli, The People’s International Tribunal, Hawai’i 1993
Sally Engle Merry in Volume 19 Issue 1. May 1996

Human Rights, Gender, and Ethnicity: Legal Claims and Anthropological Challenges in Mexico
Teresa Sierra in Volume 24 Issue 2. November 2001

Culture and Rights: Beyond Relativism?
Miia Halme-Tuomisaari in Volume 28 Issue 2. November 2005

Dangerous Discourses: Human Rights and Multiculturalism in Neoliberal Mexico
Shannon Speed in Volume 28 Issue 1. May 2005

Introducing Discipline: Anthropology and Human Rights Administrations
Iris Jean-Klein and Annelise Riles in Volume 28 Issue 2. November 2005

Transparency Short-Circuited: Laughter and Numbers in Costa Rican Water Politics
Andrea Ballestero in Volume 25 Issue 2. November 2012

Being Part of the Parade—“Going Native” in the United Nations Security Council
Niels Nagelhus Schia in Volume 36 Issue 1. May 2013

Training Bureaucrats, Practicing for Europe: Negotiating Bureaucratic Authority and Governmental Legitimacy in Turkey
Elif Babül in Volume 35 Issue 1. May 2012

A Post-Human Rights Anthropology of Human Rights?
Julie Billaud

Attempting to map out general patterns from articles published in one journal is an exercise that inevitably leaves out a great number of crucial authors, methodological experiments, and theoretical approaches. This Afterword attempts to reflect on the bigger picture of the anthropology of human rights, building on the articles from PoLAR.