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"The Levant Express is a beautiful, challenging, and deeply humane book that combines a  journey of personal discovery with a cosmopolitan commitment to civil rights. ...A seminal work that is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics of our times."

—Stephen Eric Bronner, Board of Governors Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University

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The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches, and Documents from Ancient Times to the Present. New York: Routledge Press, 1997. Second edition, 2008. Third edition, 2022.


"Ishay's Human Rights Reader is a monumental work, chronicling the force of human rights ideas and documents in the time they emerged and beyond. For activists like myself, joined in the campaign to forge enduring peace founded on universal rights, this book offers a wealth of knowledge with unparalleled breadth. It is a truly important resource."

--Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate


"The Human Rights Reader offers a sweeping documentary history of the struggle for human rights. Ishay's selections and commentary go beyond illuminating the intellectual development of human rights discourse to depict emerging challenges that human rights defenders will surely face in coming decades. This volume represents the best form of human rights advocacy, combining scholarly understanding with activist passion while upholding all rights for everyone."

--Nadine Strossen, New York Law School (Emerita)


Praise for previous edition

“A wonderfully edited collection that deepens our understanding of why human rights should be deeply inscribed in our moral and political imagination.”
—Richard Falk, Princeton University

“In tracing the complex international history of human rights, Micheline Ishay’s insightful and provocative selection of texts illuminates many of today’s most fundamental human rights debates. . . . None of these questions admits simple answers, but no one should address them without considering the deep and varied perspectives provided in Ishay’s new Human Rights Reader.”           
—Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch

“Micheline Ishay’s excellent collection provides all the material that anyone needs to participate in the critical debates about human rights. Differing views of cultural diversity, economic justice, national self-determination, and humanitarian intervention are fairly and intelligently represented.” 
—Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

“Following her masterly History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Era of Globalization, Micheline Ishay now presents us with an extraordinarily rich, original, and illuminating compilation of sources on the history and philosophy of human rights. Insightful introductions to each part provide the appropriate historical context. A ‘must’ for courses on human rights.”
—David Kretzmer, Hebrew University

The Levant Express: The Arab Uprisings, Human Rights, and the Future of the Middle East. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.

"Comprehensive and refreshing, The Levant Express provides perceptive, timely, and provocative analysis and much-needed insight for those seeking to address the new and even unforeseen challenges facing the Middle East."

–Mahmood Monshipouri, San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley

"Micheline Ishay observes history and the Arab uprisings and applies a human rights lens on a possible 're-routing of the Levant Express' for the region as a whole.This master of the metaphor has produced a highly readable study that is well documented, empathic, and hopeful."

–Valentine M. Moghadam, author of Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East

"The Levant Express is an artistic overview of the Arab uprisings of 2011, replete with specially commissioned graphic designs of railroad trains connoting revolution and progress. Derailed like the revolutions of 1848 in Europe, the Arab Spring has nonetheless sown the seeds of emancipation and human rights, according to Ishay (Univ. of Denver). Ever the optimist, often citing Hegel and Gramsci, she developed her ideas about the Middle East in off-campus seminars on political theory that she conducted with a prince and other elites while teaching at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi from 2010 to 2013. She suggests that some Gulf states might replace the US, now discredited by the Trump Administration's policies, to mediate between Israel and Palestine, even if in her view "Palestinians have lost the support of much of the broader Arab world" (p.113). She looks to Russia and the US to instead end the conflict in Syria. She further sees hope in Israeli and Saudi efforts to reconstruct the Hejaz Railway for eventually achieving economic integration and in social media for getting the region back on track. Readers may marvel at her imagination."

—Clement M. Henry, Choice Vol. 57, Issue 5 Jan 2020

The History of Human Rights, from Ancient Times to the Globalization Era. Berkeley, CA: The University of California Press, 2004. Second edition, 2008.

Ranked by The Philadelphia Inquirer as one of the ten top non-fiction books of 2004: “It should be required reading for international leaders—killers and reformers alike.”

“Outstanding. . . . A magisterial, well-documented, and convincing analysis” (CHOICE)

“A crucial tool to provide U.S. legal thought with an intellectual map of its origins, its comparative international context, and its declining standing” (TIKKUN)

“A panoramic view. . . . Imaginative scholarship and scrupulous detail.” (LIBRARY JOURNAL)

“Well-written . . . chock-full of knowledge. . . . Thoughtful.” (PROFESSOR SIR NIGEL RODLEY; MEMBER, UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE)

“The definitive account of the history of human rights.” (BENJAMIN BARBER)

  "Humane and generous in its approach, brilliant in its conception and presentation." (SHLOMO AVINERI)

The Nationalism Reader. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1995. Reprinted by Prometheus Press, 1999.

Internationalism and Its Betrayal. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.

Selected Articles

2022 “New Year’s Blank Sheet,” The Typescript (December 31).


2022 “Catch Me If You Can,” The Typescript (January 3).

“2020, Bella Ciao (2020, Farewell my Beautiful) — A Modern Adaptation,” The Typescript (December 31, 2020).


“Human Rights in the Age of Populism,” in The State of Human Rights: Historical Genealogies, Historical Controversies, and Cultural Imaginaries, edited by Kerstin Schmidt. Heidelberg: Winter Universitätsverlag, 2020. 


"Micheline Ishay Comments (Response to Chilton and Jones)." American Journal of Public Health 110:4 (April 2020), 460-461.


"Human Rights Amidst Despair in the Levant and the West." Philosophy and Social Criticism (February 19, 2020).


Strategizing Human Rights: From Ideals to Practice: A Reply to Kathryn Sikkink and Douglas Johnson," in The Limits of Human Rights, edited by Bardo Fassbender and Knut Traisback, Oxford University Press (November 2019).


Democrats must engage foreign policy to preserve liberal world order,” The Hill (September 13, 2019). 

"Human Rights Under Attack: What Comes Next?" Ethics and International Affairs (December, 2018).

“Human Rights in the Middle East” in Anthony Chase, ed., Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and the Middle East and North Africa (New York: Routledge, 2017).

“Violent Islamism Beyond Borders: Can Human Rights Prevail?” Philosophy and Social Criticism, vol. 1, 12, 2016.

“Reclaiming Human Rights: Alternative Paths for an Israeli/Palestinian Peace, in John Ehrenberg and Yoav Peled, eds. Israel and Palestine: Alternative Perspectives on Statehood (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).

“Human Rights and International Criminal Justice: Looking Back to Reclaim the Future,” in Cherif Bassiouni, ed. "Global Issues and their Impact on the Future of International Criminal Justice and Human Rights," (Cambridge: Intersentia).

“What Killed Egyptian Democracy? Lessons from a Failed Revolution." Response to Mohamed Fadel. Boston Review (Jan/Feb 2014).

“The Role of Interdisciplinary Approaches to Human Rights,” in Handbook of International Human Rights Law, edited by Nigel Rodley and Sheeran Scott (UK: Francis Taylor, 2013).

“Promoting Human Rights in the Era of Globalization,” in Globalization and Politics, edited by Paul James (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013).

"The Spring of Arab Nations? Paths toward Democratic Transition,” Philosophy and Social Criticism, March 2013.

"Globalization, Religion, and Nationalism in Israel and Palestine," in Between Terror and Tolerance, edited by Timothy D. Sisk. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011.

Review of Kathryn Sikkink’s “The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics,” Washington Post, October 21, 2011.

“The History of Human Rights and Critical Theory,” in Rational Radicalism and Political Theory, edited by Michael Thompson. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Rowman and Littlefield, 2010.

“The Sixtieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Exploring the Past, Anticipating the Future," Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems 19 (Spring 2010), 639-54.

“On the Occasion of The Sixtieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Globalization and Human Rights, Brill Press, 2010.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 60: A Bridge to Which Future?” in Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 9:1-2, January 2010.

“Human Rights and History,” in Robert A. Denemark and Renée Marlin Bennett, eds.,  The International Studies Encyclopedia (Oxford: Oxford Reference), 2009.

With David Goldfischer, “Belligerent Islamic Fundamentalism and the Legacy of European Fascism.” Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 32:1, January 2008.

“Debating Globalization and Intervention: Spartacists versus Caesarists.” The Human Rights Reader, Second Edition, 2007.

Book Review of Adam Hochschild’s Bury The ChainsThe Toronto Globe and Mail, February 2005.

“Human Rights in the Age of Empire,” in Stephen Bronner, ed., Planetary Politics: Human Rights, Terror and Global Society (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield), 2005.

“Promoting Human Rights in the Era of Globalization and Interventions: The Changing Spaces of Struggle.” Globalizations 1:2, December 2004.

“What are Human Rights? Six Historical Controversies,” Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2004.

“Globalization and the New Realism of Human Rights,” in Manfred Steger ed., Rethinking Globalism (Rowman and Littlefied), 2004.

“The Shrinking Domestic Space of Human Rights and the Information Age.” In Giorgio Basevi, Roberta Waldbaum and Giovanna Franci, eds., Rights Deviancy, and Crime in a Transnational Era. Bologna: Cooperativa Libraria Editrice di Bologna, 2002.

With David Goldfischer, "Human Rights and Security: a False Dichotomy." New Political Science 35, 1996. Reprinted in Human Rights: A Reader of Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents from the Bible to the Present. New York: Routledge Press, 1996.

"The Historical Lessons of Human Rights: In Search of a New Approach," The European Legacy: Toward a New Paradigm, MIT Press, 1996.

“Introduction.” The Nationalism Reader. New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1994.

“European Integration: the Legacy of the Enlightenment," Journal of the History of European Ideas 208, 1994.

Translation of 'De l'ontologie à la technologie: les tendences de la société industrielle,’ by Herbert Marcuse, in Stephen Bronner and Douglas Kellner, Politics, Culture and Society: Readings in Critical Theory, (N.Y: Routledge Press), 1990.

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