Alumnus' book awarded ASA Human Rights Book Award

October 19, 2015

Christopher N.J. Roberts (PhD '10) was awarded the American Sociological Association’s 2015 Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Book Award earlier this year, according to a news release by the University of Minnesota Law School, where Roberts is an associate professor.

The award is given annually to an author whose book “demonstrates the most thoughtful, competent, or innovative analysis of a theoretical or empirical issue” in the field of human rights.

Roberts’ book, The Contentious History of the International Bill of Human Rights, was published in October 2014 by the Cambridge University Press, which writes: 

Today, the idea of human rights enjoys near-universal support; yet, there is deep disagreement about what human rights actually are – their true source of origin, how to study them, and how best to address their deficits. In this sweeping historical exploration, Christopher N. J. Roberts traces these contemporary conflicts back to their moments of inception and shows how more than a half century ago, a series of contradictions worked their way into the International Bill of Human Rights, the foundation of the modern system of human rights. By viewing human rights as representations of human relations that emerge from struggle, this book charts a new path into the subject of human rights and offers a novel theory and methodology for rigorous empirical study.