Monday, March 16, 2009

Julie A. Mertus

Julie A. Mertus is Associate Professor and Co-Director of the MA program in Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs at American University. Her publications include The United Nations and Human Rights and Bait and Switch: Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy, which was named Human Rights Book of the Year by the American Political Science Association Human Rights Section.

Her new book is Human Rights Matters: Local Politics and National Human Rights Institutions.

A few days ago I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I’m reading three books at the same time. First, I am reading Lynn Hunt’s Inventing Human Rights, a brilliant intimate history of the origins of the idea of human rights. The part of the book that had a big impact on me was its excruciating detail about various forms of torture – including “breaking them on the wheel” (describing it as turning someone into a pretzel by strapping them to a wheel and contorting them in different directions).

Second, I am reading my own book Bait and Switch: Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy to prepare for a speech. I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to add Obama – or if I should write a new book.

Finally, I have one of my son’s Hardy Boys mysteries in my bag, just in case I get stuck in traffic or a long line. I’m trying to see why he loves the entire 60-plus Hardy Boys that have made their way into my house.
Read an excerpt from Human Rights Matter, and learn more about the book at the Stanford University Press website.

Read more about Bait and Switch: Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Learn more about Julie A. Mertus' scholarship and teaching at her American University webpage.

--Marshal Zeringue